For Earth Day, my daughter’s elementary school had a celebration where all the students wore red, orange or yellow shirts and arranged themselves into a circle on the blacktop. Students like sun rays shot out in all directions.
My daughter’s Auntie stood on the school roof to film them. Future classes will learn about solar power by watching her video. When they finished, she was stuck on the roof for twenty minutes before her host remembered to help her down the ladder with all the equipment, and after that, after she stowed her equipment in the trunk of her car, instead of going out for iced tea or planting a garden or laying on the couch to rest, she went to my daughter’s after-school care room (the cafeteria) to say hello, and ended up staying two hours to help another niece with a school project on aliens.
That’s the kind of Auntie we have in our lives.
Our parents – my partner’s and mine – are out of state, but the Aunties live down the block, across the highway and across town. We see them for dinner. We schedule our lives around each other’s birthdays. And on the nights I’m working on the computer, my partner finds an Auntie to go out with her and have a beer. Not her Auntie; our daughter’s Auntie. Know what I mean?
The Aunties help to raise our kids: my daughter and the children of my closest friends.
It was an Auntie who first noticed my toddler daughter wasn’t looking people in the eye. Turns out she could barely see.
An Auntie introduced my little girl to her first soccer ball.
Another Auntie introduced her to the drums.
It was an Auntie’s son who showed my daughter one giggly afternoon that SHE could be the big girl, watching out for his safety and comfort while they played.
Leaf project support? Auntie. Magic Tree House chapter books? Auntie. Easter Egg Hunt? Auntie. Solstice Celebration? All the Aunties.
Fishing? This will be an Auntie, too. (Unless it’s an Uncle. Remains to be seen.)
So when is Auntie’s Day? Turns out there is one:
July 22, 2012 – “Auntie’s Day, sponsored by Savvy Auntie, is a time to thank, honor and celebrate the aunt in a child’s life, whether she is an Auntie by Relation (ABR), Auntie by Choice (ABC), or godmother, for everything she does for a child not-her-own.”
My daughter’s Spring pictures came recently and I put one in my wallet, in one of those little clear plastic photo spreads with pages that turn. “What’s that?” she asked about the faces smiling up at us.
“That’s you. And those are your cousins.” She knows who they are. This was not her real question, but I thought a direct answer might take us where we needed to go.
“But why are they in there?”
“Because I’m an Auntie, too.” Really. I didn’t turn in my badge when I had a kid of my own. Now if I could just find a few more hours in the day to spend with them…
“But – “
She can’t find her next words, so I try to help out. “You’re first,” I say, showing her my wallet with her picture in front. “Your Aunties have pictures of you, too,” I say gently.
She grunts her assent. She knows about Aunties and can’t argue there. She just doesn’t want to share her mom.
“Do you want to play Pokémon with me?” she asks.
Yes. Yes, I do.
But first, I want to mark my calendar for Auntie’s Day, because we wouldn’t be the family we are without them.