In my life, I have been fortunate to have been touched by an unbelievable number of beautiful people. I classify beauty as both inside and out. Among this large number, there are some who stand out in my memories more than others, and I truly think that I would be a different person without their influence. I also think that not telling that person what they mean to you and why they are valued is an opportunity that should not be wasted. People may not know it but this 36 yr. old, wheelchair-using, mother of two has been given so many gifts and opportunities in my short jammed packed life. Thank you no longer sounds like a good enough phrase.
12 years my mother’s senior, my aunt lived about 13 hours away from us my entire life. The distance made trips beyond our annual journey to visit virtually impossible, but somehow the impossible was achieved. Even though there was a lengthy car ride between us she became a strong, beautiful, role model for me. She has always been an almost immortal depiction of grace and intelligence wrapped up in the untouchable woman.
Of course, this means we have always had a lot in common with each other. It is hard to have so many swans in one lake. 😉 I honestly do not know where I would be without my Auntie. She was there for me in ways no one else could be. Even though she was firm and more strict in many ways than my own parents, I have never questioned her love me and my sister.
Throughout many childhood summers, I helped weed and plant her garden. She read classic coming of age books such as Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Beniculla, and Tom Sawyer out loud to us (her own son, my sister and I). She took me to France the summer I turned 14. The list goes on and on.
Manners were one area she always stressed. She taught me the value of tact. Not everyone everywhere needs every detail or emotion. A lesson I work on daily. She also allowed me to see that there is more than one side to every story. Remember other people’s perspectives carry weight.
Now that we are older and travel has limited us both visits have been increasingly more difficult. That love and admiration I have for her have not decreased, in fact, maturity has made me realize more and more, the lessons she taught me. I hope I can play such a powerful role as an Aunt.