We’ve got a “day” for everything else, why isn’t there an Aunt’s Day? I guess it doesn’t have a real catchy sound to it. But my Aunt Patti is an exceptional woman and deserves to be recognized. She has an infectious laugh, an enormous heart, and nurturing wisdom that has helped me become who I am today.
My memories from my childhood are a little fuzzy. She always lived pretty far away so I mostly saw her during summer vacations. I do remember her patience, watching dozens of ridiculous skits that my cousins and I put on. To this day she is sweet enough to tell me that they were great. I remember watching the connectivity between her and my mom, not seeing each other very often but bound by blood, their sisterhood was very much alive. And there was that great laugh. She was happy, and silly, and fun!
But what has really made a difference in my life is the role she took on as I lost my mom and became an adult, almost in the same breath.
Never once did she say that she was trying to fill my mom’s shoes or force her opinions on me. But she was there. She checked in on me, she chimed in when she thought it was necessary, remembered me on special occasions, and I always knew I was going to eat better for the week when I got one of her care packages in the mail.
What makes it so special is the time she has invested in me. She has put a lot of effort into making it known that I am loved, remembered, and that she has faith in me (or reminding me to have faith in myself). She has her own family, her own business, and her own life with half of a country between us. But she has made the time. For little ol’ me. It means more to me than she probably knows (until now I guess).
There is a level of trust and respect in our relationship where I know that I can talk to her about anything and she is going to love me unconditionally. I trust my aunt’s opinion and frequently seek it to help me on my journey of parenting, marriage, and finding my way in the world. There have been times she has told me things I don’t want to hear, but that I needed to. She has also been my cheerleader, encouraging me to follow my dreams. I admire my aunt for being at peace with who she is and where she is at in this world. She has such a sincere and generous heart; I have a lot to learn from her yet.
Keeping up with each other ebbs and flows. No matter the distance between us I love that we can gab about anything. Our phone calls usually run over an hour- thank goodness we don’t pay for long distance minutes anymore! Sometimes life is busy and I don’t make time for that hour long talk. But she finds ways to connect by emailing me old pictures or posting a project that I might want to try with my kids on Facebook, and still shows me how I am loved and thought of.
I definitely didn’t always have this insight to appreciate what I have in my aunt, but I’m grateful that I do now. A large part of my success is because of her love and guidance. I have truly been granted a gift.
I would wish that everyone has their own version of this wonderful support person in their life. Maybe even more importantly though, is to ask if you can be this person for someone else? I have a lot of nieces and while they are blessed to still have their mothers, I hope as they grow up I am able to offer another perspective to help them through life. It would be an honor if they allow me to play that role. While it seems natural for women to assume these roles with each other, I think it’s equally important that men do this as well. Being a role model, having another view point on life, and having extra support is never a bad thing.