A week ago today, I became an aunt for the second time.

On January 21st, 2023, my oldest sister gave birth to a sweet little boy named Charlie. Then, on June 22nd, 2024, my other sister welcomed the most precious little girl, Harper.

Both occasions changed my sisters’ lives forever, and I didn’t realize how much they would change mine too.

Throughout my life, my family has always been my greatest support system. My brother, especially, has been someone whose shoes I’ve always tried to fill. In the early days of this blog, I wrote about our relationship in a piece titled “Ryan’s ‘Brother’“, and the following week, I wrote about my sisters in “My Two Biggest Fans“.

It’s true. They have truly been my biggest fans—walking alongside me through every challenge, cheering for putts that they didn’t know were for double bogeys, celebrating my biggest wins, and turning my sad tears into happy ones.

I never felt that I could adequately express my gratitude to them. They always kept my life in balance, and I wasn’t sure if I could ever live up to their example.

Until I became an aunt.

Having a child is a lot like winning a golf tournament—except it’s A LOT harder(can’t emphasize that enough), far more emotional, and the reward could never be compared to a material trophy. Instead, it’s the greatest gift God could give you.

Therefore, sitting on the sidelines watching my sister lift that metaphorical trophy is far more special than any victory I’ve achieved on my own.

On both occasions, their faces were smeared with exhaustion, disbelief, joy, and an overwhelming amount of peace.

In sports, the aftermath of a big victory often seems hollow. The fans stop cheering, the trophy celebrations end, and the media moves on to the next event. What’s left is you, your trophy, and a question of what more there is to achieve.

The aftermath of this occasion couldn’t look any different. I’ve seen it on both my sisters’ faces. It’s peace. It’s purpose. It’s not the urge to accomplish more, but the beauty of having enough.

As an aunt, it’s the coolest celebration to be a part of. I’m lucky to be the fan on the outside, cheering for a victory that will extend far beyond balloons and birthday wishes—it’s a day-in and day-out victory.

Unlike golf, this “career” of parenting will never end.

My mom and dad can attest to that. They didn’t sleep the days before each grandchild’s birth in anticipation and the stress of booking travel. As they pass the baton to my sister, they continue to support her.

My brother-in-law put it perfectly:

“As I was up in the middle of the night looking at Harper, I thought, I’ll be losing a lot of sleep in my life over this little girl. I can see it now, twenty-some years down the road, she’s going into labor and I’m trying to figure out how to get on the next plane to be there.”

That comment marked the transition of becoming a parent. Gone were the selfish thoughts of his own rest or convenience. His world immediately shrunk to the 7 lb 1 oz 18 ½ in baby girl that laid comfortably in his hands. Both of my sisters and brother-in-laws would agree that they wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s what I’ve learned from being an aunt – you get so much more when you give. 

For years, I walked the fairways, feeling a pang of guilt as I looked over at my sisters who couldn’t join me. But as the years passed, and our roles reversed, watching them navigate their own “fairways”, I’ve come to realize the immense joy and purpose found in cheering them on from the sidelines. It’s a different perspective, one that I never imagined would become such a precious gift.

We all have the opportunity to give more: more love, more support, more kindness to a family member, a friend, or even a stranger. You may be surprised by the feelings you receive in your own heart.

The Good Stuff

You’ve probably already heard about the new film, Federer: Twelve Final Days. If you haven’t, you need to watch it. A touching piece on an athlete that exemplified incredible character all the way to his last day. Here is a link to watch it.