First things first: so far in this life, I have yet to find anything I love and enjoy more than being an aunt to Isaac Ray. I can tell you that, hands down, there isn’t a thing in this world that I love more. And I love a lot of things. I’ve never held a hand as precious as his. I’ve never been given sweeter kisses. I’ve never heard my name spoken with another voice that melts my heart the way that his does. And that boy may never know how much he’s helped me through some of the loneliest times of my life. Tonight as we rocked together in the recliner, I thought about how much I cherish those moments and how I wish that I could just capture each one of them in a photo so that when he outgrows wanting his aunt Rachel to rock him, I’ll always have those memories. I’m notorious for always having my camera out and ready to capture each memory, each precious smile, every thing that he does to make me fall even more in love with him.
This is my favorite time of year. Starting at Thanksgiving, all the way to New Years, I look forward to every second I get to spend with my family. Today my aunt Roxanne’s family came for a Christmas breakfast and although I loved everything about today, there was still an aching in my heart. The lady that taught me everything I know about how to love as an aunt should wasn’t here with us today. I look back to this time last year. She was spending her first evening in Little Rock at the hospital there and I never dreamed that one year later, we’d be celebrating Christmas without her. I know that she was smiling down on us today, but I’d give anything to have her here with us. One of my favorite things to do with her was to sit at the piano while she played and we’d sing together with my mom. She knew all the old hymns and she sang like an angel. Today, mom sat down at the piano and my cousin, Travis, and I sat down beside her and sang some of aunt Roxanne’s favorites. And we sang a very special song that she had written years ago. Needless to say, it was hard to choke back tears. She taught me so much about life, but most importantly, she showed me how to love without any limits. When I look at my nephew or when I think about the nieces and nephews I’ll have in the future, all I can hope is that I show them the kind of love that my aunt Roxanne showed to me. Her love is endless even after death.
Tonight after I gave Isaac a bath and put his jammies on, he crawled up in the big recliner with me, we covered up, and we “wocked.” He put his little hand in mine and for a minute I just prayed that time would stop. I looked at my brother and I said (with tears in my eyes), “When Isaac is old enough to understand (and then the tears were flowing pretty hard at this point), I’m going to have to tell him just how much his love has pulled me through this past year, through some of the loneliest times of my life.” And it’s true. He can turn any crummy day in to a good one. He can put a smile on my face when no one else in this world can. When he looks up at me and gives me that mischievous little grin and says “WESTLE” I can’t even help but feel overwhelmed with love for him. And knowing that my aunt Roxanne’s legacy of love can live on through me is something I pray that I never take for granted.
I miss you every day, Aunt Rox. I can’t wait to see you again. Thanks for teaching me how to love.