A little over five years ago, I had a text which said “Do you want to be called Auntie Kate or Auntie Katie?”. My sister Gina, who at that point was living 180 miles away from me in Cornwall had just announced that we were about to become an Auntie and Uncle. Now, there is something uniquely special about having that honour. Some people don’t always appreciate the gravity of being in a position of influence and protection over your sibling’s children. We have always felt completely honoured to be involved in the boy’s lives and try, as much as everyone’s busy lives allow, to get the cousins together as much as possible. Since having Darcey that bond between us all has grown even more – we see them as our extended children and they love each other’s company. There are now five children on my side of the family (I am the eldest of six so I suppose this was somewhat inevitable!) and as yet Darcey is the only tiny person on Nath’s side. This means we’ve been able to spend five years watching Oliver, Cameron, Cody and Harry growing up alongside Darcey who is the youngest and it has been an absolute privilege.
We are really lucky that the children all get on well together and we make a big effort to get them out and about when we’re able to. Often this means we’ll spend lots of time together in school holidays when I’m able to be more flexible with my free time.We booked a huge barn in Herefordshire last February and the whole ‘Todd Squad’ tried to get away together. Unfortunately, little Harry was really unwell at the time and Rosie couldn’t make it either so numbers were depleted slightly but we are all really aware of how fast time is going and how important it is for them to grow up together, so I’m sure it won’t be long before we do it again. Darcey spends Mondays with Cameron as Rosie looks after her and will sometimes spend Fridays with Cody when Zoe has her. Even though I’m not often part of these little ‘clubs’, we get pictures throughout the day of a lot of hilarious antics and my sisters will all meet up together so that the cousins can play anyway.
One particularly gorgeous thing that’s happened as they’ve all grown up is that they do tend to look out for each other – none more so than Oliver watching out for Darcey and Harry. I can’t count the number of pictures I have of Oliver holding Darcey’s hand and patiently waiting for her to catch up; he absolutely adores her and these little snapshots in time make me realise how lucky we our that our little lady is growing up surrounded by her older cousins. Darcey worships the ground Oliver walks on – every time she sees a picture of him she shouts “Oller Oller!”. I certainly don’t think that anyone will be messing with her with four older cousins around! Darcey idolises the boys and I think it’s part of the reason that she’s got such a good imagination and is so good at playing and sharing. She watches the boys do things and imitates them. She also thinks they are beyond hysterical.
We are so lucky that we are so close with my sisters and that they are happy for Darcey to grow up alongside their boys. I’m relatively confident that they will look after Darcey in a way that probably only a big brother would and we are absolutely over the moon that she has four ‘amost-big-brothers’!