I was named for my maternal grandfather's eldest sister, Ella Amanda. She went by Amanda, sometimes Mandie when she was younger.
She never had the opportunity to marry or have children, so she made the most of the opportunities she was given. She served an LDS mission, went to college, and worked as a teacher or a variety of other jobs, and I think even worked in a library for awhile. When she was older, she served as a temple worker.
She loved her family. With 8 younger siblings and all their families, there was a lot of them to love. She remembered birthdays and set up a trust fund to help any descendant of her parents to serve missions of their own.
Because I was her namesake, we had a special connection. The whole family called her Aunt Amanda, and I was Little Amanda. Though, for at least a little while, I thought she was just "Aunt" because when my mom introduced us, I thought she was saying, "This is Aunt, Amanda."
When she died, I was asked to write her obituary and deliver her eulogy. It was an unusual request for a 16-year-old, but I was honored.
Due to her wonderful example, I've long considered the title of Aunt Amanda to have a mantle of responsibility attached to it. She left a lot to live up to, and I hope I can live up to it.
Fortunately, Sisterpants has finally given me my official chance! I have nothing against my honorary niblings, or Blake's brother's daughters, all of whom I love completely. But I finally have a blood nephew of my own and I'm thrilled!
Meet Gabriel, whom I like to call Gabey-Baby.
I got to go home and meet him during my school's fall Eid break. My job was to snuggle him and help Sisterpants around the house. Gabey-Baby is an excellent snuggler.
Thanks for letting me love on him so much! I hope he loves his Aunt Amanda as much as I love mine!
Disclaimer: This was posted with permission of Gabriel's parents. Not all parents want their children's pictures on the internet, and I recommend Eilonwy's excellent blog on the subject. Be sure you know your friends' and family's social media policies!