My whole life has been a parade of aunties
December 1, 2017 10:47 AM   Subscribe

"I have a lot of aunts. Eleven on my dad’s side and six on my mom’s. I also have a lot of cousins and, now that my cousins are all having babies, a lot of second-cousins — a hundred, or four hundred, or four million, something like that. I attended a cousin’s bridal shower recently where she stood up during speech time and told a funny story about how when she was young she didn’t understand that in other families moms had friends who weren’t their sisters, and kids had friends who weren’t their cousins." In praise of aunties.
posted by ChuraChura (20 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
YES YES YES and AMEN!!
I couldn't possibly overestimate the impact my aunts and “aunts” have had on my upbringing and development. Especially so as the child of a twin; I basically had a backup copy of my mother to rely on, but without the baggage of our mother-daughter relationship. I feel like there's a little part of me that's been missing ever since her death.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:04 AM on December 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


When I was getting to know my girlfriend I asked what she did for fun and she said "mostly family stuff" which I thought meant she didn't do much but I was very wrong, she has almost no down time.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:06 AM on December 1, 2017 [7 favorites]


(I'm not super close to any of my aunts, but I cherish every kiddo who calls me Auntie or Tantie!)
posted by ChuraChura at 11:08 AM on December 1, 2017


In the Indian community all of your parent's friends are referred to as Auntie or Uncle. It's a form of respect and they have the ability to softly parent you when your parent is not around. They're an extension of your family and so you treat them as such.

And then there's your real auntie, your mom's sister and this auntie is basically your second mother and she parents not only you but your mum sometimes because that's how family is. And she is a power, a force, someone not to be fucked with. Her love is a hurricane and you just endure it because it's beautiful and terrifying. At least this is my Auntie.
posted by Fizz at 11:19 AM on December 1, 2017 [23 favorites]


I come from one of those insanely big Irish Catholic families... My dad was the 10th child, I'm his 6th, the 45th and youngest cousin. My mom's side is tiny, just one aunt and only one cousin. But growing up was an endless parade of cousins, and a pile of second cousins much closer to my age.

The Aunts were definitely a force to be reckoned with, and many of the best family stories revolve around their various battles, alliances, and eccentricities.

Being the youngest (by a fair margin) though meant that most of that part of the family drifted apart in my teens as the older Aunts and Uncles passed away and the second and third generations just made the numbers untenable. Though my own immediate family is still more than large enough to take up the slack.
posted by cirhosis at 11:41 AM on December 1, 2017


This was beautiful! I’m going to be an auntie for the first time next summer and I caaan’t wait to be a hurricane love kinda auntie. I have one but she is cold and distant and told me once that she isn’t really my aunt because she’s my uncle’s wife not my mom’s sister. I will be modeling my behavior after these kind aunties instead.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


In the Indian community all of your parent's friends are referred to as Auntie or Uncle.

We did this growing up in the NYC Burbs, I got the sense this was something from the Italian side of the family, but could be wrong.
posted by mikelieman at 11:48 AM on December 1, 2017


I've once described metafilter.Com to friends as a place where my internet aunties are.

You all might not know it, but I really appreciate the wisdom on this site, in agrégate; it single handedly raised my consciousness and radicalized me as a feminists. And when I say "it", I mean all the aunties on here.
posted by tedious at 12:03 PM on December 1, 2017 [37 favorites]


In the Indian community all of your parent's friends are referred to as Auntie or Uncle.

In Mexico this happens a lot too. I refer to all of my parents' friends, or my friends' parents, as aunts and uncles.

And then there's your real auntie, your mom's sister and this auntie is basically your second mother and she parents not only you but your mum sometimes because that's how family is. And she is a power, a force, someone not to be fucked with. Her love is a hurricane and you just endure it because it's beautiful and terrifying. At least this is my Auntie.

This perfectly describes my Tía too...I even went on vacation with her a couple of times because she took a long long time to have her own children (not by choice) and so she borrowed my sister and me for a couple of trips they took with friends and kids.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:47 PM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I loved this so much. When I became an Auntie for the first time almost 12 years ago, I determined that I would be like my Aunt Phyllis, who was an amazing aunt. I'd be a co-conspirator, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and someone they could talk to when they didn't think they could talk to their parents. My Aunt was all of this and more to me.

I don't think the value of an aunt can be overestimated.
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 12:49 PM on December 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


n the Indian community all of your parent's friends are referred to as Auntie or Uncle.

As someone who has neither children nor nieces/nephews, I love it when friends’ kids refer to me that way. Not to be overly sentimental, but it always feels like an honor when a small child holds your hand and calls you uncle.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:17 PM on December 1, 2017 [12 favorites]


In the Indian community all of your parent's friends are referred to as Auntie or Uncle.

It's the tradition in my family (Middle Eastern/ Eastern European) also. As an aside, Texas tradition seems to be Miss Firstname, or Mr. Firstname if close, or Ms/Mr Lastname if not.

My bestie has a baker's dozen siblings, and all of them have half a dozen kids, except my bestie who stopped at two. But her kid's birthday parties are insane with all the humans that are related to one another. I came from a small family with a vast gulf between two siblings, such that we were each raised as though we were only kids.

I look at Besties giant chaotic mass of wriggling puppy love that are her regular interactions with her family, and part of me is so jealous, but the introvert side of me is happy to be Aunt SecretAgent in just brief intervals.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:20 PM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm an aunt now, six times over. Those subject to my auntness range from 18 months to 28 years, from barely-walking to halfway through a double-master's program at Cal. It's been a joy to be a resource for them, and have them grow and change and become friends and companions as adults.

I had a couple of aunts, but they were far away, other than Mrs. S, who was my mother's best friend and lived down the street, and she was as tough and wise as any aunt one could hope for. Bless you, Mrs. S.
posted by suelac at 2:22 PM on December 1, 2017


I hate Aunts. When my parents died my Mom's sisters totally consoled her and each other and had me stepping and fetching like a servant. When I asked for a little sympathy they yelled at me and said if I wanted someone to talk to I should have had siblings (like I had any choice).

Aunts are a huge letdown. All those summers spent at someone's house and that's what I got. Fuck them.
posted by irisclara at 3:14 PM on December 1, 2017 [3 favorites]


My aunts, living and dead, were so important to me, modelling different types of femininity to me, of ways of being a woman. Married with children or unmarried with a large network of friends, living abroad by themselves or living with their families, academics, NGO workers, consultants and writers, they made it obvious to me from a young age that there were so many different ways to be a woman other than the very traditional way that was the norm in my country growing up. I'm so grateful to them and I hope I can be even half as much of a safe space and good influence to my own little family of nieces and nephews now.
posted by Ziggy500 at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2017 [2 favorites]


My brother and his wife are starting to try for a baby. They are both charmingly boring and normal and I cannot WAIT to be the weird bad influence auntie.
posted by Grandysaur at 5:15 PM on December 1, 2017 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: a place where my internet aunties are.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:32 PM on December 1, 2017 [9 favorites]


One of my first published essays was an ode to my aunts, who parented us impartially when we went on vacation with the whole extended family.

So delighted when my siblings started having kids so I could start aunting them!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:40 PM on December 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanksgiving at the in-laws, and most of my husband's family show up, including the oldest niece and her six-week-old son and twin girls. Lots of hilarity ensues, with cooking and catching up amid four generations.
Meanwhile, Honorable Youngest Offspring is at the breakfast table with the nine-year-old twins, drawing pictures for them to color. She basically spends the day with them, watching them tumble and play while the grownups gossip.
So she is using her auntie card and it looks good on her.
posted by TrishaU at 1:03 PM on December 2, 2017


When Miss Manners spoke at the 92nd st y about 15 years ago she told us that calling an unrelated elder Aunt or Uncle was part of the West African manners which transferred to everyone in the Deep South.
posted by brujita at 8:46 PM on December 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


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