6 surprising things they didn't tell me about becoming an aunt.

I’ve been an aunt to a little girl for the past 14 months, and soon I’ll become an aunt to a little boy.

And I can’t wait! When I found out I was going to become an aunt the first time, I was ecstatic. But there were a couple things that came along with being an aunt that caught me by surprise. I thought I knew a lot about being an aunt; I’ve got three aunts that I see regularly. What didn’t I know? Life wouldn’t be that different, right?


Photo via iStock.

They didn’t tell me that…

1. Seeing your niece or nephew for the first time will turn you into a blubbering fool.

I thought only moms and grandparents cried when they saw babies. Aunts are supposed to be the cool ones that just give the kids candy when their mom isn’t looking, right? What’s this crying business? Eyes. Stop. Now. You’re embarrassing me.

2. I would become strangely protective over a child that isn’t even mine and that I haven’t even known for very long.

Did I just hear you cough? Commence dousing you with hand sanitizer if you want to be in the same room as my niece.

3. I would want to buy every decently cute item of baby clothing in sight.

Oh, she already has 50 dresses … but this one is so cute! I only have $20 in my banking account. Good thing this adorable dress is only $15!

4. I’d become extremely selfish when it comes to letting other people hold her or play with her.

I don’t care if you are a second cousin twice removed who loves babies and only comes around every two years. I’m NOT sharing her. Ever.

5. My priorities would change.

They didn’t tell me that I’d come home more often, just to spend time with her. They didn’t tell me I’d leave an hour earlier just so I could stop by on my way home before her afternoon nap. They didn’t tell me I’d blow off hanging with my friends just so I could play with her for half an hour longer. They didn’t tell me that I would begin to factor her into my choice of graduate schools.

6. I’d love that kid more than anybody in this world.

They didn’t tell me that from the first moment I laid eyes on her, I would be hooked. They didn’t tell me that from the moment I met her, I would do anything and everything for her. They didn’t tell me that her laugh would become one of my most favorite things to hear. They didn’t tell me that she’d take over my Facebook and Instagram. They didn’t tell me that she’d also take over my lock screen on my phone. They didn’t tell me that I would work her into every conversation, just so I can show them the latest pictures of her.

No one told me any of that, but I’m so glad they didn’t.

Being an aunt has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to do it all over again when my nephew comes in a few months.

So here’s to one of my newest and definitely my best title yet: Aunt Courtney.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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