Posted by: cmittermeier | November 17, 2011

My Aunt

For weeks I have been thinking about writing this post.  It started with a visit to a friend who is now a single mother.   It got me thinking about one of the greatest role models I had growing up – an Aunt who was a single mother.  I know I have never told her how important she was to me, to my sense of self, to who I grew up to be.  I have never told her how when I had children it was important to me to have single people in their lives – because of the richness she brought to my life.

My friend is recently widowed, something she had in common with my Mother.  Yet it was not my Mom that I thought of, but my Aunt.  I could not get her off my mind, how she had shaped my idea of what it meant to be a woman.  You did not have to have a husband to be a kind, gentle, caring mother.  She never came across as half of a couple – she was whole.  I don’t ever remember even wondering why she was not married.  I vaguely recall finding out as a teenager that her husband did not die, that it was a divorce.  It held no significant information for me.  Even when we were all getting into boys, it never occured to me that she would be part of a couple.  She was not some radical feminist, or anti-men, or attracted to women.  She was not out to blaze a trail or be a pioneer.  Yes, she was a single mom before it became part of the norm, but I never really noticed.  Yes, I know that sounds odd, but she was just my Aunt, the mother of my cousin and that was that.  She was a woman, and she showed me what it meant to be a woman.

To be a woman was to show love.  She was always there to support us, she never forgot a birthday or big event.

To be a woman was to nurture and let us grow.  She was the first to trust me as an adult, and when I flunked the test she never said a word and never held it against me.

To be a woman was to care for others.  She was a social worker, enough said.

To be a woman was to stand by your friends.  When my mother was dying, she took turns with all our family in caring for her before she was moved to palative care.

My Aunt taught me I never had to take whatever warm body happened to say something nice to me.  She taught me that there is a beauty, a dignity to just being yourself.  She taught me to enjoy being myself.  She taught me that love didn’t come with requirements.  More so than the married woman in my lives, and the wonderful marriages that surrounded me, my Aunt’s life showed me its okay to be single.  Every young woman needs that lesson.

Shortly after the visit with my friend, I found out my Aunt was in the hospital.  It has been over a month, and its looking like its now or never for me to send these words to her.  Your life, your example, your love – matters.



  1. What wonderful comments about your Aunt. Good thoughts are so important to you and to the ones being thought of. and… regarding your latest post concerning Vertigo, I learned something new. I’ve never know anyone to suffered from this. I hope they can provide you with some type of medication to control the attacks.. I’m sending my prayers for your good health. Bridgette

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