Dear Aunties -
I’m writing to say thank you. I have never had a sister. And though we aren’t really sisters, you are my people and I’m honored that you’ve considered yourselves aunties to my darling girl before she even arrived.
When you celebrated a baby shower in my/her honor, it was the first time that I ever felt as though I had a “crew” of friends. After many years of feeling like a social outsider, I felt your love and sisterhood wrap around me and hold me up as I prepared to cross the threshold into a whole new identity. I didn’t know how it would change me. I didn’t know how it would change our relationship, or my relationship to my work. I didn’t know if I’d be any good at it. (You kept telling me I would be.) It was all so new and uncertain.
You texted me in those final days of waiting before she arrived, just to check in. You listened to me cry tears of wonder when I called to tell you I was holding my baby in my arms. You dropped off a care package in my mailbox for when we came home from the hospital. You brought food and flowers and held her lovingly when she was but a teeny tiny chicken.
You answered my desperate phone call and brought me a fancy sandwich and held my girl while I took a nap for an hour. (This may have seemed like a small gesture, but it was one of the most gracious and meaningful gifts of love anyone has ever shown me.)
You took me out for dinner and it was the first time I wore real clothes and had a grown up conversation in months. I felt like I was living on another planet, and you grounded me by reminding who I am.
It fills my heart to think about how my daughter will grow up with all of you surrounding her, helping her grow into who she is meant to be. She’ll see strong women all around her. She’ll see what it means to be ambitious, entrepreneurial, loving, creative. She’ll see you asking questions and facing challenges and feeling lost and shining your light—navigating your own journey. And she’ll benefit from the wisdom you share with her as you go.
It’s important to me that she knows that her parents aren’t the only ones looking out for her. She’ll know that you’re there, curious about her life, bringing her beautiful birthday cards and bubble wands, and laughing and going on adventures together.
You’ll teach her about makeup (if she cares to know), because I know nothing.
She’ll know that she can come to you with the questions she won’t be able to ask me.
She’ll see all of the ways that one can be a woman today—and she’ll create her own way that’s meaningful to her.
Thank you for being an auntie to my girl, and and a sister to me. I don’t know how I would do this without you, and I wouldn’t want to.
Photos by Matt Ferrara Photography