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In praise of the Auntie

As an infertile myrtle i know that being an auntie has filled the kid void in my life. I get to play with the little ones, tell my slightly older nieces and nephews what’s what and then go home. When things get rough for their parents, provide a safe harbor or an extra set of hands for the family. In some ways it’s the best of all worlds.

So my heart melted when I saw this story in Slate about aunties. I grew up in a similar culture and had childless aunties who still play a huge role in my life today nearly 40 years later. Go celebrate your moms and grandmoms today and later this week snag your favorite auntie and take her to her favorite bar! :)

“Aunties are the rule-breakers. When they come over to babysit, the fancy dishes come out, the kitchen becomes a playground, and screen time and bedtime extend. They go on adventures, take my kids to slightly inappropriate movies and shows, and they expose them to new music. They are also the culture-keepers who can share family stories and the histories of our people. They are the oracles who answer questions children don’t want to ask their parents (sex! drugs!) and share knowledge about subjects children didn’t know existed. They see children as their own people, which enables them to talk to kids as whole individuals and understand what they are truly capable of. Parents say, “Let me help” and “That’s not safe.” Aunties just say, “Yes!” —maybe without even lifting their eyes up from the book they’re reading. They expand children’s internal and external boundaries.”


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