You know that saying about how you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family? Happily that doesn't apply to me. There is no member of my family I would trade for the world (I might like to kill one or two occasionally but those nearest and dearest know how to push all the wrong buttons, right?)
In any event, being an aunt is one of the best roles in the family - something like Grandparents - you get to be there for all the fun bits but avoid the day-to-day drudgery of homework supervision and fighting over room cleanliness. It's all care and no responsibility. Today was one of those good times. Today was my niece Scarlett's 18th birthday, a milestone that could not go un-noticed. So I arranged to meet her when she finished university at noon and we did lunch at one of my favourite restaurants at South Bank. And then we trundled up to my favourite cocktail bar for a drink. A girl should have her first drink in the company of a responsible adult (or me if you can't find one). I told the barman the occasion so he made a big deal of checking her ID, just to make it official. We had one quiet cocktail and caught a cab home. All very civilised. It's hard to believe that it was 18 years ago just a few hundred metres from where we sat that she had her first actual drink in the Mater Mothers. She was a beautiful baby but baby look at her now.