My husband and I both have sisters. One each, to be exact.
My daughter though, only has one Aunt.
Alright, so that’s not entirely true. She has lots and lots of female adults in her life to look up to. I have like a million cousins and a group of good friends. Ok, not a million cousins, but my tribe IS strong.
Apparently, yesterday was National Aunties’ Day. I read another blog on Scary Mommy about PANKs (Professional Aunts,No Kids.) which made me really think about the other women in my life, or more importantly, in my daughter’s life. Who are these women who love my daughter almost as much as I do?
Well, one of them is my own sister. As an Auntie she’s pretty wonderful. She loves the shit out of her niece. She spoils her when she can. She’s only 17 but she carries the responsibility of being an aunt like a badge of honor. It’s the kind of love every momma hopes their babies will experience from family members. My husband’s sister, is another story. She made it clear before my daughter was born that she didn’t want to be known as “Aunt”. She wanted to be known by her first name only, in order to “keep it casual”. I made it very clear this was unacceptable to me. Not that my words mattered. My daughter is almost 8 months old and this young woman has had nothing to do with her. Yep, she doesn’t even look at her when we’re in the same room. So, as I mentioned above, my daughter only has one blood related Aunt.
[My sister falling in love with her niece the day she was born.]
The simple definition of an aunt is “the sister of your father or mother…” according to Merriam-Webster. I, however, think it’s much more than that. You see, my daughter actually has several aunts (and uncles) who have no blood relation to her at all. I even have cousins who are more like aunts to my baby, than my own sister-in-law. So to these women, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for loving my daughter.
Because to me, the definition of an Aunt or Uncle, is someone who gives a shit about my kid. A person who has been there for me, as a new mom, from the beginning. Someone who has held my daughter and looked into her eyes, and fallen in love with her sweet smile. An aunt or uncle will see her after not being around for awhile and exclaim “wow she’s gotten so big!” or “I’ve missed you baby girl!” These adults who have adopted the title of Aunt or Uncle, or even those who don’t call themselves Aunt or Uncle but their actions speak for themselves, are the people who will inquire about her well-being, as well as mine as her mother.
I understand that the concept of a tiny human emerging into the world from my lady bits might make certain people a little squeamish, but even my best male friends can handle my epic tales of child birth and new momhood. There’s also those people who just don’t like kids and that’s OK. It’s ok if you don’t like kids. It’s even ok if you don’t particularly care for my kid specifically. Not everyone is going to like her in this life. The fact of the matter is, she’s an infant. Infants can not offend someone (sense of smell not withstanding). It’s impossible for an infant to be like “Hey Jerkwad! I hate you. Go vote for Trump, then jump off a cliff.” They don’t know what being vindictive means. All my daughter knows is that when someone smiles at her, she smiles back.
These are the people I want in my child’s life. The people who smile at her. The people who take 2 minutes out of their busy lives to occasionally text me “Hey! How’s momma and baby doing?”
I’ve learned over the last 8 months, who is worthy of the title of Aunt or Uncle, and these people are not always blood related. I’ve come to terms with it finally. In my world, and in the world of my daughter, the only people that matter, are the people who give a shit about us. Some people are in our lives because we don’t have a choice. The best people though, are in our lives because we choose to have them there, and more importantly, they choose to be there.
So, what IS an aunt (or uncle)? Simply stated, “a person who loves and supports the child of a person they care about.”
Yah know… The people who give a shit.