Family Fridays #19 Aunts

May 17, 2024 0 By Mirm

Does anyone else out there have one of “those” aunts?! There are all kinds of aunts, of course, but I am referring to the kind of aunt that pinches your cheeks, squeezes you tight or give little tickles. The kind that buys you books and teaches you things such as how to bake or create some fancy art project. I am talking about the kind of aunt who will play games with you and take you shopping and will go parasailing with you when they are over 70! They know your parents and they think you are way more amazing than their sibling! They are another positive female role model who is foundational in the familial relationships that are built. Many of the aunts and great aunts in my life, by birth or by marriage, have become my confidantes, even my friends, and have added a layer of nurture in a world/life that has become void of the care and patience that people need to blossom. I have a rich heritage that includes some pretty spectacular women!

Obviously not all extended family relationships are positive and not all aunts and uncles are good role models. We have some of those negative ones in our family as well. There are people who do not portray the kind of aunt or uncle to whom I am referring and there are so many broken family relationships in life today that perhaps the kind of aunt I am talking about is not too common in the wild!

Aunts (and Uncles) can have a unique relationship with their sibling’s progeny. They can be the “cool” adult who sometimes offers an alternate opinion or perspective. They can be less judgmental and yet they have an investment in who you are so they can hear what you are saying and offer a safe space that lets you know you matter and you are heard. If they are a great aunt (or uncle) they were already the cool adult for your parent and they continue the relationship because they loved your parent so much!

Many people have had an impact on my life; My parents have had a powerful influence over the person I have become. Everyone longs to hear “I love you and I am proud of you”, especially from these people. Aunts can have a unique role of influence and perspective. I have memories of my aunts – some hurtful and most of them kind. I learned to cook, to garden, to look at birds, to read, to travel, to share, to sew among other things all thanks to my aunts.

Tomorrow we are celebrating the life of Jim’s aunt. The last of her generation. As quirky and disjointed as Jim’s family can be, M. was definitely a product of the environment in which she grew up. Her house was painted Red white and blue among some of her other unique tastes.  However, M. was  good listener when everyone else seemed to want to talk without listening to anyone around them. M. was kind and wanted the best for others; she was so proud of her nieces and nephews; even when she was suffering with dementia she asked if I remembered her nephew Jim who was so smart and accomplished. She taught her nephew Ron how to play the autoharp when he was injured and on bedrest.

I remember the day I became an aunt. I was stunned at how besotted with V. I was. I truly feel a deep and unconditional love for my nieces and nephews; I am so proud of the adults they have become and I have spent almost as much time bragging about them and praying for them as I have my own kids! An added bonus is that I think they like me too! I want to always be one of those aunts who loves well, plays often and provides wise counsel and a loving perspective to those who call me aunt! I want to pass on the traditions and qualities I have enjoyed from my own aunts.