I’m inclined to think it was something innate, contagious and otherworldly that caused everyone to gravitate and drift into her orbit even to this day. My Aunt is one of the most empowering people that I’ve ever encountered.
I remember a incident with my brothers when we were children that was illustrative of this phenomenon.
We were all sitting in the living room and I am unsure as to how we wandered onto the reservation of who our favorite Aunt was. Surprisingly, we all chose her, but in the greed that can only be exhibited a brood of brothers it was decided that each of us couldn’t have the same favorite Aunt.
There was a lot of back and forth, possibly some shoving, but due to my being the youngest brother, I never emerged victorious in these endeavors so I quietly selected another Aunt. This wasn’t to say that we loved our other Aunt’s any less, but this pedestal, this plane that she existed on then and in present is a frequency that no one else can ever hope to touch.
My Auntie has been one of the indispensable forces in my life… She was one of the people that could speak truth to me, leaving me compelled to listen, hanging onto her every word.
She never judged me and accordingly I felt free to place my burdens into her care for her to make sense of it all. Whenever I needed her she was there like clockwork…
November 24, 1991 was one of my fondest memories as she took me to my first Chicago Bears game at Solider Field versus the Dolphins, we lost 16 -13 in overtime, but it was one of the best times in my life. The windchill factor had rendered my feet, hands and face numb to the touch, but just being with her warmed me to the core. I kept the ticket stub from the game afterwards, stumbling across it years later and I was transported back to the bitter cold of the stands and the deafening roar of the crowd.
She pushed me through my funk and subsequent awakening in high school. While many were surprised at my transition from disciplinary problem to a serious student she didn’t do a double take. Her saying that I could do something served as a narcotic of sorts.
Our lunches were pivotal, her walking me through the process to interview for a job was priceless, 20 some odd years later I still employ what I call the “Auntie Protocol”. The job that she prepped me for I ended up with the company for over 16 years, before I departed.
Just as I am enamored with the beauty and the humanity of this woman… This sentiment is echoed unanimously by my 4 siblings and all of my cousins. And as a testament to her consistency, she holds the same distinction with my son… The generational divide does not dampen her light.
You are an angel, my angel, I can’t fathom where I would be if you weren’t there to serve as my safety valve, to urge me to aim higher to focus on the broader picture. I thank you for your selflessness and your dedication to your family, I am a better person because of you.
Happy Birthday Auntie, I love you!