Are you a Savvy Auntie?

I mentioned the Savvy Auntie website last week. Making a visit there, I discovered that they have declared July 24 Auntie’s Day. So, if you’ve got devoted nieces and nephews, maybe you want to drop a hint that they should plan some kind of Mother’s Day-like celebration.

There’s even a Savvy Auntie book by Melanie Notkin, which tells you how to be the best possible aunt–or great aunt or godmother or person who loves a child you didn’t give birth to.

For those of us missing the children we haven’t had, aunthood may be one way to fill that emptiness.

On a recent trip to California for my niece Susie’s 24th birthday party, I found myself absolutely enchanted by her. Between my brother and me, she’s the only biological offspring, although my brother adopted William, his wife’s son from her first marriage. He feels like ours, too. I often forget that he doesn’t share our genes. When he tells me he loves me or comes to me for advice, I feel all squishy inside.

My niece has my name, and she looks so much like my mother it’s spooky (and wonderful). We’re both left-handed and have a lot of other things in common besides her father and curmudgeonly grandfather.

Because we live in different states, I don’t see my niece and nephew that much, but I love being Aunt Sue. I wish there were dozens of young people calling me that.

Meanwhile, on the long drive home to Oregon, I got to thinking about how cool it would be if I had had a daughter, too. My brother and I both got married for the second time in 1985. We were both in our 30s, plenty young enough to conceive. My daughter would be about Susie’s age. They could have been friends, hung out together, shared confidences and clothing tips. I would have been so proud of both of them.

Sigh. These are the kinds of things that many women take for granted, not knowing how lucky they are. I’m not going to give birth. My stepdaughter is almost 20 years older than my niece, so they’re not likely to become friends.

That’s the way it goes in this world of multiple marriages, some of which do not produce children. I wish I had kids, but I’m glad I’m an aunt.

How about you? Are you an aunt? Are you enjoying it? Might you put some of your mothering energy into spoiling a niece or nephew? I look forward to your comments.

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