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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Millersville chapter.

Before we start, I’m sure a handful of you looked at the title and wondered what “Tía” means. Well for those of you who passed this class in High School or can speak/understand Spanish, you will recognize that “Tía” means Aunt. Now that we have our little recap session out of the way, let me tell you how being a Tía has changed my life.

Being the youngest daughter by 11-15 years, I have had the privilege of being young and enjoying the 2010s while my siblings became adults and had to be ” responsible role models” for their little sis. It feels like a lifetime ago my older sister was driving me to the mall or my brother was telling me to make a sandwich for him while he played FIFA. The prime time of being young and not worrying about the future was great. . . until they both got married. I’m just kidding, both their partners were great additions to our ever-growing tree, but many people can relate to how family can pry about your relationship.

As I watched my siblings get hounded with the same questions at every family event:
– Why aren’t you dating anyone?
– Are you going to get married?
– What’s their career?
– When will you have kids?

I saw how everyone was pushing for their major life decisions to happen as soon as possible. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but even then it was never enough! I felt for them at the time, and so I waited and watched as they both hit every milestone. However, It’s not easy waiting for something to come; perfection takes time. It got to the point where I was dying to see a mini version of my brother or sister. What would they look like, talk about, act like, and how would they fit in our family? It wasn’t until I had a very vivid dream on June 3rd, 2017 (yes, I wrote it in my dream journal) that I saw what my siblings looked like as parents. From there, I counted the days when we too would be surprised by the announcement of a little Zamora on its way like one of those videos of the mom going hysterical.

I guess the waiting paid off and our family was blessed with not one, but two amazing baby boys. Within the past two years, I have become an Aunt or “Tía” from this growth and our lives are ever richer from it. Both my brother and sister had a baby with their partners just eight months apart and it brought a spark and color to our worlds. However, not everything is sunshine and roses. I had no training coming into the role of a Tía; it was something I had to base on movies, TV, and other experiences. My siblings always had me as a trial run child (I’m so sorry for the pre-teen years), but there was no “Aunt 101” class available for me to take on how to handle this. I knew I wanted to be as involved as possible since I remember my siblings always being there for me, but I’m not going to lie, I was scared.

As my parents put it best:“Val has a weird maternal instinct.” For someone who had never even seen what it looked like to take care of a baby, I somehow adapted quickly. First off, let me just say that mother and fatherhood is NO JOKE! Raising your kid and making sure they are as safe and healthy as possible can be very overwhelming. While I do help take care of the boys from time to time, I gotta give it to the parents for truly giving it their all. Some of the many skills I’ve acquired have been changing diapers, putting them to sleep, teaching tricks, handling the wrath of an eight-month-old, and styling outfits. While I think some part of me will always be scared of taking care of a baby, I know with time and patience I will get there.

There’s no right way to be prepared. Some read books, watch videos, or just simply do it, but when you are at the changing table trying not to smell the full power of a ten-wipe diaper blowout, you learn that love is what empowers you most to do your best in being there for them. And by them, I mean the babies and or the parents. These past two years have been so enlightening. I will never take sleep for granted again and will make sure to live my life to the fullest. Never let others try to push a future you know you aren’t ready for. In the end, no one is truly ready for this step in life, but the people you surround with will be your guide and anchor. It really takes a village and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Some final advice for my fellow “Tías” out there:

  • Don’t wear white or expose nice clothes until the babies have reached the walking stage. Even then, proceed with caution.
    • Wear your hair up if needed and be careful of jewelry. Yanking is imminent.
      • Don’t buy too many baby clothes. Chances are everyone and their mom has given the little one a wardrobe that they will outgrow very quickly. Refrain from the baby section at stores and only buy something if it truly is a novelty. This will save your wallet and clothing waste. Thrifting is also a great option.
      • If they sleep over or you babysit, sleep and or get work done during naps. . . trust me, time is a concept with them.
          • Make sure to keep a cloth, wipe, or socks in your purse when out on the town. They come in handy.
            • Be in the moment as much as you capture it on your phone. They won’t be little forever and you don’t know when they will mistake an orange for an apple. Sometimes things need to be in the moment. Also, your photo gallery and social media will have baby fever written all over it; buy some extra storage too.
            • Know when to step away and say no. It can be hard when all you want to do is spend time with them, but you also need to think about yourself and what you need to get done.
            • Buy baby snacks! If not for them, then for yourself. The yogurt pebbles are the best.
              • Don’t be scared of crying or tantrums. They are young and have no control over their emotions. Help them understand calmly; It’s how they learn.
              • And finally, when in doubt, Miss Rachel. Not Blippi, Cocomelon, or even Teletubbies. Miss Rachel always saves the day.

                At the end of the day, do what feels right. There’s only so much you can do as an Aunt, but every little thing counts. I think now I’ve really entered Tía status, but I know I still have a long way to go. . .

                Valentina (or Títí Vale)

                (Side note… the cafeteria at Women and Babies of Lancaster is amazing. I dream of those cookies.)

                Hey everyone it's me Valentina Z, and I am a Senior at Millersville University! Currently, as a Media Arts Production major, I am exploring the world and sharing my new experiences along the way. I have a passion for fashion, lifestyle tips, food, and nerd culture. I am a proud Latina who is always ready to try new things and isn’t afraid to take on life. Follow me into the unknown that is college, dating, and more! I hope my work inspires you as you read <3