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5 Life Lessons I Learned from My Niece

It’s hard for me to believe that on this day 16 years ago, my family and I were buying pink balloons to wrap around our mailbox to celebrate the homecoming of my niece, who had made her debut into this world two days earlier. Until 2000, I was the baby of the family and my niece’s birth changed the course of my life for the better. Some of my brightest memories include watching her mature and reach different milestones and, with only 10 years between us, in a lot to ways  it’s like we’ve grown up together. I remember how intrigued she was by my own 16th birthday party. The only 6 year old in attendance, she ran around like she owned the place unbothered by what the older kids were up to and commented multiple times about how strange teenagers were. Now, as she celebrates her own sweet 16, she’s just as unbothered and has a quiet confidence and self assurance that I admire.

[Tweet “All nieces are beautiful and brilliant… and obviously take after their aunties”]

Becoming an aunt taught me so many important life lessons and I owe them all to my oldest niece. I’ve been her playmate, authority figure, sister, babysitter, friend, and, hopefully, a positive role model. But, as I reflect on my life and hers, I realize that she’s been so much more to me.

I like to say that my niece learned everything she knows from me, but the truth is, I think I've learned more from her. Check out these 5 life lessons I've learned from being an auntie.

5 Life Lessons I Learned from My Niece


I remember how excited I was when my big sister announced her pregnancy. She and my brother are quite a bit older than me, and I always wanted a younger sibling. At 10 when I found out that I would be an aunt, I immediately staked claim over the little one before she was even out of the womb. She would be my baby. I would take her under my wing, teach her everything I knew, and show her the world. I was so anxious and excited for her arrival, and, as a kid, 9 months seemed like an eternity. I learned quite a few lessons about patience as I waited for my niece’s arrival and quite a few more as she grew through childhood’s many stages (especially when she entered the “why?” stage around age 5 and questioned my every move).


Kids are brutally honest, and growing up, Korie was the first to tell me the truth about any and everything. When I thought my new haircut was cute, she was the first to tell me that I looked better with long hair. When I introduced a new boyfriend, she was the first to tell me that she liked my old one better. She has always knocked me down off my high horse in a way that I completely appreciate. To this day, I can count on her to tell it like it is and it’s taught me to accept criticism with humility.


I’ll never forget the summer before my senior year of high school. It was the first summer that I had my driver’s license and had the freedom to spend my days how I wanted without having to ask for rides from here to there. It was also the summer that I spent every weekday babysitting my niece, who was 7, at the time. Each day, her mom dropped her off to me in the mornings and picked her up in the early evening. She rode with me through Atlanta as I took advantage of my newfound freedom as a young adult. She was my partner in crime, in many ways, but she was also what kept me grounded and out of trouble. Knowing that she needed me to provide basics like food, shelter, and safety and realizing that she was watching my every move taught me so much about responsibility.


Korie and I are two very different people. I’m girly, slightly uncoordinated, and serious. She’s tough, athletic, and jovial. Growing up, I expected her to be a mini-me, and while I notice things that we have in common every day in little things that she says or does, our differences taught me to be accepting of those that think differently than I do. There have been quite a few times when I’ve wanted my niece to make a certain decision in the way that I would (and I’m sure there will be quite a few more as she continues to come into her own), but she’s strong willed and has a mind of her own. Although she may not handle things quite the way that I would, she always ends up making the best decision for her. Korie taught me to to accept that my way of thinking and doing things isn’t the only way.

Unconditional Love

My niece taught me what it means to truly love another human being and put someone else’s needs before my own. Way before I loved a boy or knew how it felt to be in love, I loved her and recognized that I would give my last breath to make sure that she was safe and happy. I still feel the same today. Although, of course, I loved my parents and siblings and other family members, at the age of 10, Korie taught me how to be selfless. As the baby of the family, I was used to being coddled and spoiled, and when she was born, I became way less selfish and way more open to the idea of sharing.  She was the first person that I ever really loved more than I loved myself with no question. No matter what decisions she makes in life going forward as she grows and matures, I know that nothing could ever change how much I love her.

Niece as Bridesmaid

Please join me in wishing my beautiful niece, Korie, a Happy (Belated) 16th Birthday! Are you an aunt? If so, what life lessons have you learned from your nieces and nephews?

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