The realization that I am the first Guest Aunt here is making me sit up straight and take this newly-created role very seriously. I want to do good by all of us aunts out here, who – like me – probably don’t have the vocabulary to express the love for our little nieces or nephews.

This also makes me think back to when I was on the precipice of aunthood, before my older sister had her daughter. My sister Robyn is one of the most adorable, loving, bright-spirited people you will ever meet in your whole life – and she lavishes all kinds of love and attention on everyone in her life. But she gets kind of squirmy when the spotlight turns on her. She was pretty feisty about not wanting a baby shower, but eventually, a few of her closest friends and I insisted that we at least take her out to dinner. And we wanted to find something we could make or do that would represent our love for Robyn, and all of our relationships with her.

Enter the Story Box.

All this takes is a sturdy wooden box (a cigar box is ideal) covered with some dreamy illustrations, and digging into your shared memories to come up with a few stories that reveal something about the mom-to-be. We all wrote two or three story prompts that Robyn (or her daughter, when she gets old enough) can pull out and use as a starting point for a story. A card inside the box reads “Tell Ada A Story About…” and the handwritten cards take it from there.

The cards we wrote for Robyn included trips that she and her husband took before having kids…famous (and infamous) stories about our parents…and sweet sentiments about what Robyn imagined her son or daughter would be like.

One of the things I love about this project is that it’s a collective expression, and it manages to capture a wide range of feeling and love and history without being too treacley. Perfect for someone like Robyn, who won’t let you linger too long on why she’s a kickass sister, mom and friend.

Find more of Kelly at Make Grow Gather.