On Being a Savvy Auntie

19 Mar 2010, Posted by Jennifer Iannolo in non-food

It’s no secret that being a mother is not at the top of my priority list. Given the fact that most of my plants are bent over, begging for attention and care, this seems like a good plan. But it doesn’t mean I don’t melt have an affinity for my 9 nieces, nephews and great-nephews. At times like this, when I’ve been working almost ’round the clock for weeks, and could really use a hug from a little person, I miss them terribly. I feel like I’m missing important stuff, like my godson’s touchdowns, or the twins’ wrestling matches and fivehundredwordaminute stories. Smiles and giggles. OK, and yelling and screaming — but that’s how they’re built. I’ve learned to accept it.

When I learned about Melanie Notkin’s site, Savvy Auntie, I thought, Hey, I’m not the only one who feels this way! Melanie has created a community where we can seek and offer advice/ideas, and a place where we can share our experience from this very unique perspective. I revel in being an aunt because these are children I adore and sometimes crave, but I get to give them back. It’s like a rental car, but way better.

My (non)kids range from 1 1/2 to 31 years old, and I’ve been around them as long as they’ve been around. Fed them, changed them, walked the floors with them, helped them learn to read. I’ve had all of them with me in the kitchen at some point, sniffing cardamom, rolling meatballs or trying to pronounce “gastronomy.”

And let us not forget the one-liners, such as Zachary’s famous quip, upon being asked to wash his hands before we baked: “We need to wash our hands so the bread doesn’t taste like ‘hand,’ right Jen?”

But most importantly, because I don’t have my own children to distract me, I have the opportunity to be there for them in a different way: As a helping hand, or someone to listen if they need advice. I live for this. That I can contribute to their happiness, and help create who they are as human beings, is worth every minute of my time. I love them ridiculously and endlessly.

Are you an auntie (or an uncle) like me? Do you revel in the rental kid? Do tell, especially if you’ve got some good one-liners.