This was sent to Aunt B via email...
Dear Aunt B,
I am a new great aunt, but because we lost our mother at an early age (12) I am also considered the grandmother because I have taken care of all my younger siblings all through their lives and have been there for numerous births. I am sure my sister wants first dibs on grandmother, but where do I fit in on giving advice etc .without stepping on toes? We have our first great-grand-baby due tomorrow.
Wow, this is a bit vague but the title of this post speaks the answer, huh? As family, you have a right in the say so of all things, if you choose and the family member is receptive.
In today's world, things are different than they were years upon years ago. We now have more step families but we've always had your situation, where a sibling raises the family. Unfortunately, especially in days gone by, the parent or parents often dyed young, leaving a sibling to do the rearing. There was often no choice. It commendable that you all got through it but to persevere is a dying art, as well.
Your Mother died and none of you are really the Grandmother, correct? But let me tell you this; I adopted my daughter, when she was 15 years old. She came into my home and became part of my family. In reality she is not my daughter, now is she? I did not give birth to her, do I have a right to want her to call me Mom? No, I do not have a right to it. There is no entitlement but it sure made me feel good when she starting calling me Mom and my husband Dad. In turn, when she had her first and only daughter, I was Grandma. I loved it, even though I was kind of young, when my Grandbaby called out to me, "Grandma." It felt really good and I can understand.
Your situation is a bit different, is it not? I do not know just how close, you and you siblings are? If you are close, I invite you to sit down and talk about this. I do not mean to offend any of you but not one of you has the right to claim to be Grandma, really? So, for the sake of the child, you must work this out. When the child grows up, can they explain or can you explain to them the connection, the family tree? I think it is also honorable to want to fill that gap, that void, so the child does have a Grandparent. This is a touchy situation and I think it comes down to who is oldest, maybe? I am having a hard time answering this because it is evident that I don't have the whole story? What is wrong with you all just being Aunts and Uncles, unless you've already started the process of changing roles? Is this what happened? You did say, that there were already, several births, right? Who is or have you already designated someone as Grandmother? If you are already, "Grandma," why change it?
Even if you are or are not, you should be there, as family in all things. If this means that you give advice, it is because you care. Being a "know it all" and "my word is the law" is different than a family member that cares and wants only the best for their entire family, right? I think you only want the best for this child.
Not one of you has the entitlement or reserve to call yourself "The Grandmother." So, you must work it out amongst you and try not to confuse things and especially in regards to the child and their hold on understanding the family tree. Regardless of what you want or your sister wants, or the feelings involved, you must do the right thing to not confuse the child. I invite you to have your family read this. I invite you all, to then sit down and really talk this out. The child will love you regardless of title, if you are there, an active figure in their lives. They will most certainly, be a fortunate person, to have the love and thoughtfulness of an Aunt. Many people have little or no family. So, it is a wonderful thing, that you all care enough to give this new child a sense of family. I hope, you can all, work this out. Please send me more information, so I may understand, if this has not been helpful. I do hope things turn out well and for the interest of the children. My prayers are with you!
Hopefully a big Congrats is in order very soon.