Monday, June 16, 2014

The Kissing Aunts

Today I am answering this prompt:

Yesterday was Father’s Day in many countries. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

Perhaps they are not "distant" relatives, but I would like to dedicate a day to celebrating aunts. Specifically, my three "kissing aunts".

My Aunt Mary Ann, Ellen, and Margaret are three of my favorite people in the entire world. Technically, I don't think they are really my aunts...not by blood, anyways. Mary Ann was married to my Uncle Jim, my dad's brother. Ellen and Margaret are her sisters. So what does that make them to me? I am not sure. But I adore them. Everyone does.

Mary Ann is obviously the one that I know the best. She is the kindest, most gentle woman you will ever meet. She is soft spoken, but strong. She is open about her faith. She offers words of advice and comfort to everyone she meets. Mary Ann is one of the most special people. She will pray for you, nourish your soul, and take care of you. She's seen a lot of grief in her life, but remains strong. She is intent in her conversations and makes a point of letting you know how much she cares about you. She is the kind of aunt who will send you a card on every birthday, or just to let you know she's thinking of you.

Margaret is bold, brave, and courageous. She stands up for herself and what she believes in. She is not afraid to stand out. She is fun, sassy, and friendly. Along with her booming personality, she has a huge heart. She has served as a foster parent and mentor for at risk kids. Margaret is one of those people that you don't want to mess with, yet you listen when she speaks and soak up every word. You also admire her, she's a strong woman.

Ellen is a little bit of both. She is one of the funniest people I have ever encountered, and also the friendliest and most outgoing. But she can also be very gentle and soft spoke. She knows just what to say to make someone laugh or to cheer them up. Like her sisters, she is strong in her beliefs. When I was a little girl, I loved spending time with Ellen. I had a few sleepovers at her house and just enjoyed each moment I had with her. We live nearby each other now, and are long overdue for another sleepover.

Together, these three women make up "the Kissing Aunts"- a nickname my brother gave to them when he was about 10 or 11. The aunts would always attack him with kisses and love on him to embarrass him. But he loved it ;-). It is a running joke in our family, and every time we are reunited with them, we all sit back and laugh as my brother gets attacked by their hugs and kisses. It's rare that we see all three of them together anymore, but when we do it is full of laughs.

These three certainly deserve a day dedicated to them, and all the gratitude that would come with it. I know I am not the only family member who feels this way. I admire each of them for their gifts, and for the lessons they have taught me. They mean more to me than they probably realize. I hope that one day I can take bits of each of them and become the best version of me.

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