Aunt Life

I shared in my last post that my family has experienced some loss lately. The most recent was my Aunt Barbara, my dad’s sister. She had breast cancer, not the same as mine, and it eventually spread to other areas of her body. I last saw her when I was in New York for my other aunt’s funeral, but I’ve talked to her on the phone since. I can still hear her voice and her sass. I hope I never forget what she sounds like. I have a lot of my father’s traits, and I’d like to think I have some of my Aunt Barbara’s, too.

I used to spend a lot of time with her when I was little. I went to stay with her and my grandmother occasionally and we’d go shopping, play bingo, and hang around the house. I’d bring my toys or my bike and just play. I remember that I would spend hours using the staircase as some kind of apartment community for my troll dolls or Barbies. We’d also do most major holidays at her house, too, since she lived downstairs from my grandmother. It was a home away from home.

All losses suck, but hers really sucks. She was an awesome aunt and, until my sisters talked about it, I hadn’t really thought about her as a teacher. She taught us how to be aunts. Yes, we have more than one aunt, but she was our constant. Birthdays, holidays, milestones…she was always there. She set an example for how an aunt should be, and while I have absolutely slacked here and there (who doesn’t?), I intend on changing that. I want to be the Aunt Barbara of aunts because she was so good at it – the gold standard, if you will. She may not have been perfect in all ways, but no one is. She loved me and my sisters hard. Years from now I want my nieces and nephews to remember me in the same fond way.

This was something else I’ve been thinking about lately. How important the role of an aunt is in a child’s life. We’re friends and we’re family. We are full of love and tons of fun. We’d do just about anything for our nieces and nephews. The same could be said for uncles, I guess. I can’t wait to watch my nieces and nephews grow up and turn into awesome people, and I’m looking forward to being there and supporting them (or spoiling them, haha) along the way.

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