My kids have a lot of Aunties. It’s no secret. The irony is I really have only one sister and, to be honest, she could take the award for, “World’s Best Aunt” all on her own. So it’s no slight to her that my kids are lucky to have more than just their “Zi-Zi Nancy.” I also have some incredible sister-in-laws that fit the Auntie bill perfectly. However, a majority of my kids’ “Aunties” are not actually blood or marriage related. I catch a lot of flack for this from some people. They say I shouldn’t confuse my kids, and that the title of “Aunt” or “Uncle” should only be reserved for direct relatives. I can respect their opinion, but it’s just not what I believe. I have come to learn in life that family is what you make it. Yes, some we are related to, but others we choose.
When I had my daughter seven years ago, I remember thinking that the job of being her role model in life was going to be overwhelming. I mean I can’t teach her to curl her eyelashes or make chicken soup. I can’t show her how to dominate on the lacrosse field or climb the corporate ladder. She will be hard pressed to get help with algebra or find her inner artist from me. I won’t be good with fashion choices other than running pants and tops. I could love her to pieces and always be her biggest supporter, but I needed a small army of women to raise this girl.
I am lucky to have some incredible women who I call my closest friends. They all have so much to offer as role models. The only title I could think of for them that was special enough was that of “Auntie.” What better gift could I give Kylie – especially during her teen years when I will be the lamest person in her world – then a tribe of women who she can go to for just about anything. She has an Auntie for every occasion. So, Kylie my dear, this is your entourage…
- Auntie Pia will teach you how to be a generous spirit and how to crank out push-ups without breaking a sweat.
- Ciocia (Polish for Auntie) Beata will show you the love and kindness it takes to be an oncology nurse and also how to apply a mean eyeliner.
- Auntie Maya has more stamps on her passport than anyone you will meet; consult her about seeing the world and learning different languages.
- Auntie AJ is the one you should call if you should ever have to be bailed out of jail. Also, if you need a carefree look at the world, she’s your girl.
- Auntie Lizzy B. & Auntie Amy will inspire you to make anything beautiful with their creative flairs and also show you what it means to be a great teacher.
- Auntie Megan will teach you how to do a split dodge to goal in lacrosse and then how to rock a skirt with heels to show off those athletic legs. Girls can be strong and beautiful.
- Auntie Katie & Auntie Donna will provide warm smiles and free therapy for your teen years (it’ll take more than one counselor) and directions to a good happy hour.
- Zia (Italian for Auntie) Angela in California will be there to give you honest advice, teach you about our wild Italian culture, and how to not be an uptight East Coaster.
- Auntie Jackie will show you how to be at the top of your game in the business world and also how to crack open a beer on the beach when you need a break.
- Zia Tete will teach you that family is most important and how to rock the latest fashion trends and Louis Vuitton bags.
- Auntie Stina will teach you all about stranger danger (because she is the queen of being “careful”) and also how to whip up a delicious Picadillo.
- Auntie Cor will be the ultimate role model for being a good mother and what it means to be a friend. “It’s your life, might as well make it a happy one,” she’ll say.
I am honored to be able to surround my daughter with the type of women I would want her to grow up to be. Not everyone is “Auntie material,” and it’s not a term I give out loosely. Some are lifelong friends, some are co-teachers, and some are new friends I hope to make into old ones. I continue to meet so many incredible women along the way that qualify. Come to think of it there are these girls in my run group who just might be getting a new title soon…