When you’re an aunt to three princesses your world can turn from dull to pink with the simple opening of a car door. Suddenly the wind blowing quietly through the brown bare trees and the sound of the snow softly falling on the roof is eclipsed by tiny, high pitched voices asking tiny high pitched questions about where the horses are, why we have a giant hole dug in front of the house in the shape of a garage, can they put on their cowgirl boots, do they have to wear their mittens, where are the dogs, where is my dad, who is my dad, where is my mom, where is Little Man, can they get a drink of water, can we go ice skating, can we go sledding, can we climb that tree we climbed when we were here this summer, can we walk in the deep snow up through the trees and to the top of the hill?
Can you and Uncle C come with us?
When you’re an aunt you answer all questions. Every. Single. One. No matter how hard it is for you to sort through all the talking at once, because your world has been quiet and brown lately and it takes a while to adjust to a different pitch and all that sparkle.
And when you’re an aunt to three princesses you have a duty to really think through your answers. Because I was a princess once I’m pretty sure, and princesses don’t ask questions they don’t intend on remembering the answers to.
Same goes with promises.
So I keep those, especially the one I make when I’m half sleeping about homemade chocolate chip pancakes in the morning without thinking about the ingredients I may or may not have in the fridge.
When you’re an aunt to three princesses who lives thirty miles from town and you have made a promise about pancakes only to discover that there is no Bisquick for miles, you figure out pretty quick how Betty Crocker does it.
When you’re an aunt you let them wear their cowgirl boots in the house and suggest they wear their mittens while you take them sledding and climbing through the trees and skidding across the frozen dam because real cowgirls wear mittens on 20 degree snowy days in March because cowgirls need all of their fingers.
And then you take them to see the horses and promise them that as soon as the weather turns they will come out with those cowgirl boots and you will take them riding. And they will believe you.
Because once you were a princess too and princesses keep promises.
When you’re an aunt and you load those three princesses up into your car to take them home only to promptly get pulled over by a very detail oriented police officer, you secretly hope the cuteness he finds when he arrives at your window will help get you out of the offense while you calmly explain that cops are nice humans who are just looking out for other humans like their aunty who forget about important laws like putting the new tags on your license plates.
Then the princesses will shrug their shoulders and say that’s ok, the same thing happened to their daddy.
When you’re an aunt you will take a similar calm and assured approach to the blizzard you suddenly find yourself in with precious cargo in tow.
You will ask them to sing “You are my sunshine” while you white knuckle it on icy, snowy roads, the windshield wipers on full blast, praying that the Good Lord helps deliver you the last twenty miles to their house where you let them eat Girl Scout Cookies while you make them supper.
And then you might eat a whole box of Thin Mints all by yourself, blaming it on the stress of driving three princesses 90 miles through a blinding blizzard, the 3,000 calories a reward for getting them there safely and without any screaming.
When you’re an aunt to three princesses you don’t forget when it’s Saint Patricks Day, even if it means that your fingers may be permanently green from all the food coloring you put in their noodle soup and thirty seven glasses of milk they insisted on drinking before bedtime.
When you’re an aunt you don’t think about things like maybe they shouldn’t have thirty seven glasses of milk before bed because little princesses have little bladders.
But when you’re an aunt to three princesses you just say “Oh well, it’s alright” and then you ask them to put on their sparkly dresses and twirl while you watch and laugh and clap and remember what it was like to be small looking up to your big sister and chasing your little one around the coffee table…
and you don’t ever mention to anyone the soft spot you have for the middle one, because you were a middle princess once too and you know how it is.
But you will quietly thank her for reminding you as you watch them all dream, tucked in snug under the covers of their parents’ king sized bed, little pink arms and legs sprawled out so that there is no room for you to squeeze in.
When you’re an aunt to three princesses you accept your fate, grab a pillow and make a bed for yourself on the couch, wondering how you will go back home tomorrow to all that quiet and beige, cupboards without fruit snacks, clothing without sequins, pancakes without chocolate chips, trees and hills and soon to be melting snow without children waiting to break in those cowgirl boots in the puddles…
And then you will close your eyes and dream of fairies and horses with wings, dolphins who can sing, puppies who can talk, diamond encrusted crowns, beautiful dresses and matching shoes, monkeys jumping on beds, leprechauns and all of the things princesses teach you to remember exist…
And then you might snap out of it to find that you’ve been watching three straight hours of the Disney Channel…