Relationship #1: Sibling
As the second oldest of seven, I have had my fair share of caring for children. I've often thought of myself as a live-in nanny, though it wasn't necessarily by choice. There were ups and downs.
For some time, I felt the need to balance "sisterhood" with "nanny-hood" because there were so many times where I had to be responsible for their well-being. But as the years have gone by, my relationship with my younger siblings has slowly morphed into sister/equal, which I quite enjoy. The transition has been a unique experience.
Relationship #2: Aunt
Being an aunt is so much fun! I love my nieces and nephews! The great thing about aunt-hood is that you have all the benefits of the "ups" listed above, but hardly any "downs" (that's what the parents are for!). Though, I will say I have had to change diapers with these guys, and some pretty nasty ones at that, but it is worth it! I find it miraculous how much love can come out of a person. Just when you think you've loved it all out, another baby comes along and you find more.
These are my younger sister's girls (she is younger by 1 year). I'm so lucky to be close enough to be able to see these sweeties every few weeks. They bring me so much joy!
Relationship #3: Friend
As a friend, you don't have quite as many opportunities on the "ups" side and virtually no downs, unless you elect to babysit! But you still have the joy of watching the kids grow up and hearing the stories of the crazy things they do with their parents. They can be quite entertaining at 10:30 p.m., especially since they are not your own!
Relationship #4: Teacher
I've had the privilege of being a Sunday School/VBS teacher at different parts in my life. Most recently, I have lost some of my patience for misbehaved children that stems from lazy parenting, so I have not been as involved. But, in my earlier days, it was so much fun. I really tried hard to help the kids learn about Jesus and tried to incorporate memorable/out-of-the-ordinary activities in my teaching to make a difference. I find so much joy seeing from a distance how these kids grow in the Lord. It is an honor to have been a small part of that development.