Family / Immigrant Life

Auntie SOSo

Depending the position of the sun when you ask me, I might be pro or anti-mommmyhood. Morning being generally an optimistic time, ante-meridiam will find me pro. By afternoon, reality has beat the sunshine out of me and it is I who is in need of superhuman patience and pampering.

Auntiehood, as you may know, is less choice-friendly. You have about as much say in becoming one as about that second helping bs_white_redtxt_cute_auntieduring a meal as a guest at a habesha home. It’s gonna land on your plate. And don’t lie, you’re happy to eat it, even when it wreaks havoc on the nice plate-clearing design you were working on.

So of course I welcome the Adorable Little Persons. They’re just so damn cute, tumbling into my life like gate-crashers at a party of one. To protect their mostly-formed identities, let’s call them 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, with more in the forecast. (No family-planning vote for you, Auntie!) 

I’m not unaware that my relationships with 2010-2014 will become as unique/complicated/nonexistent as mine are/were with my own aunties, even more so since I am one “hiccup” removed from direct auntie status. As an out-of-town cousin to the mommies, I occupy a fuzzy position somewhere on the spectrum between Honorary and Certified Auntie. Call me fun/drunk/absent/moody  – but never deadbeat! – Auntie, though I do forget to tell them ‘bye’ when I skip town. Hey, they won’t remember these little deviations from protocol, right?

I know I’m going to have to step up my auntie-game soon. 2010 can already hold a conversation and remember shit and give logic a run for its money, for chrissake. They’ll all grow. Into actual persons. I’ve seen it happen with a late-born cousin. One minute you’re powdering their little behinds and the next you’re sharing lipstick. 7e963e9d7621c1ebf8af735237b61607

The best I’ve been able to figure out my job description so far is as a sort of optional, part-time parent-figure that should be kept behind a glass case labeled ‘break in case of emergency’. Disciplinarian? Who, me? Heck I still get blue for the days gone by of ‘just us crazy kids’. But I’ll play along with the grand conspiracy of right actions = right outcome. Ever since 2010 came along, my first instinct on seeing those first pictures has been to PROTECT! I want to put them in a big bubble from which nothing good will ever escape and into which nothing bad will ever enter.

For a long time, I had viewed aunties as one of those people who pre-existed, born that way. It was not until third year university that I actually witnessed the creation of an auntie when my roommate’s oldest sister had the first baby of the family. I had no clue what to get the new auntie by way of a ‘congratulations’ present, so I bought a Today’s Parent magazine. Then I drew nice big letters ‘A’ and ‘u’, cut them out, and pasted them over the ‘Pa’ and ‘re’ of the magazine cover. Tada! The first (and only) issue of a historic publication known as Today’s Aunt.  And that’s pretty much how I’m going about it: cut n’ paste. Sorry kids.

Maybe some savvy veteran or mid-career aunties out there got tips?

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