Growing up I was surrounded by incredible women. My parents had an amazing group of friends that were family to us. I always referred to them as aunts and uncles, not even realizing that we weren’t related at all. As a child, DNA meant nothing when it came to who family was. Family consisted of the people that loved me and made me feel safe. These Aunts of mine were instrumental in raising me, even though they didn’t have to be.
My Aunts were there for my mom when I was an unruly toddler. They were there for me when I was bullied in elementary school. These women were the first to get me drunk, on vodka lemon drops at a summer block party. I was sixteen and can remember them slipping me a cup and saying, “You didn’t get this from me.” My parents of course found out, and were rightfully upset, but I was elated. As a teenager it can be hard to go to your parents for support, so having Aunts that I knew I could trust was a privilege.
When I was broke and in college, too afraid to ask my parents for money because I wanted to prove myself, I turned to my Aunts. When I was heartbroken and needed someone to tell me boys are assholes, I turned to my Aunts. When I needed a job, I turned to my Aunts.
Now, as a mother, I see a similar bond forming with my children and best girl friends. These are women the women I have chosen to call my sisters, not related through bloodlines, but rather through a soul line. These ladies love my children as their own. I watch as they celebrate every small detail of my children’s growth. They were there when the kids were born. They applauded while they said their first words and took their first steps. These are the women who came to my rescue with a bottle of wine when I just couldn’t handle any more temper tantrums. Sisters who offered to take the kids to the park so that I could get a shower and nap in.
I call these friends my soul sisters. Not family by blood, but family by heart. Just as my mom’s friends cared for me in only the way an Aunt can, my soul sisters are now doing the same for my children. Of course as a mom I want my children to share their secrets with me, and feel they can always come to me for anything. However, knowing that they have a strong group of aunts around them to do the same, brings me peace.
So to the Aunts, whether by blood or by heart, thank you for loving the children as your own. Thank you for being their friends, their family, and their safe place.