I recently became an aunt again, in fact two times in two weeks. My brother and sister-in-law had a baby boy, and my best friend had a baby girl. These were the bright spots in a really rough few months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I love being an aunt, my first niece was born 19 months ago. I’ve been an honorary aunt many times, and I’ve watched my friends’ kids turn into amazing little people. I feel so lucky that I get to do this again.

A cool aunt delivers the fun, and she’s also the best cheerleader. Of course, I am often tasked with babysitting but for the most part, my job is to spoil the heck out of my favorite little kids. From park outings, museum visits, cheering from the sidelines at their soccer games and eating the best ice cream sundaes, these are the memories that will last a lifetime.

Being the cool aunt requires me to tap back into my childhood and just be silly. An aunt does things like read bedtime stories, play dress-up, host tea parties and spends summer afternoons swinging at the park with your nieces and nephews. Doing these activities helps you feel like a kid again.

The best thing in the world is getting a hug from nieces and nephews. Having kids in the family has brought my entire family closer together. They’ve taught us to remember just how amazing some things are. The holidays are so much more fun. (And this is coming from Mrs. Griswold herself, the queen of Christmas.)

While I don’t have any children of my own yet,  being an aunt is the next best thing. Being an aunt gives me the opportunity to practice for when I have kids of my own.

But for now, it’s comforting to know that at the end of the day, when it all gets a bit too much, I can hand them back to their parents.