What do Aunts do?

Family dynamics fascinate me. I have two very different models in my paternal and maternal extended families. Honestly, I don’t think they could be more different without great effort and planning. I’m going to talk about my maternal family.
In my family, we have Aunties. We kids call them “Auntie” just like we call our mothers “Mom”, or grandmothers “Grandma” or “Baba”. They’re amazing, my Aunties. I’ll extrapolate and say our Aunties, because I can’t see any of the women in my family not stepping into those shoes.
Aunties are there when you call them, will offer you a cup of tea, listen to you talk, if you miss your mom or are at odds with her, an Auntie will offer you company and comfort. She’ll let you be yourself, offer words of encouragement or admonition, open her home and he arms and welcome you in.
I have two generations of Aunties. My Grandma lived too far away for regular visits, but my great-aunts were there. As far back as I can remember, visiting them was a treat, each Auntie with her own way of running things, but a common thread of love, hospitality, and generosity running through them, as much a part of their makeup as the genes passed down from my great-grandma. There is nothing in the world that compares to walking through the door into the kitchen, being told to “come in, come in”, and receiving a hug that effortlessly conveys unconditional love. Everything they do speaks love. The endless cups of tea, the time spent sitting at the kitchen table, not treating me like a guest, but fitting me into what needed to be done, even if it meant that I had to feed chickens from time to time. (Sidenote: I hate live chickens.)
You’ll have to excuse me if I fall short of eloquence on this one, I lost an Auntie this summer, and the urge to reminisce is strong, like an undertow pulling my heart into a miasma of memories and sentiment.
Aunties are special, amazing women who pour out their love on the children and grandchildren of their siblings with no holding back. They don’t let you get away with much, and will call you on stuff like your mom or grandma would. They’re women who if, at a family gathering, someone calls “Auntie”, will look up reflexively. And that, to me, means “I’m here, I love you.”
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~ by Trillian on 09/30/2010.

3 Responses to “What do Aunts do?”

  1. Oops…forgot to say…one of my favorite posts, so far.

  2. Aunties are the stitches that keep the patchwork quilt of family together.

    • Having an extended family that is close is one of the greatest blessings I could ever hope for. As a child, I kind of took it for granted that there was this network of people who would be there for me, and now I realize just how unique a gift it is.

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