As essential as aunts

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It’s almost alarming enough an ‘accolade’ pertaining to womanhood that entitles the world to believe that a woman is only womanly enough in the extent of the maternal capacity she pursues. So lauded is the very spirit of motherhood, the amazing potential to birth lives from within oneself that being a mother is often singled out as the most unique, and also the most enriching of attributes ever entailing a human. There sure would be little ground for doubting the worth that all mothers of the world, human or not, bear in their exertion of putting own lives at stake for ushering in another of their kind in the world. But even with due recognition, commendation and immense respect accorded to the women who choose, or sometimes even happen to be biological mothers, it still would be essential to point out that not being a mother isn’t what makes non- women out of the female. For maternal is an instinct and motherhood therefore as much bearing of a feeling as it is pinpointing of a physical phase in life that makes this whole notion of wanting to exalt only the mothers of the world an ode to womanhood in such utter apathy overlooking its more amalgamating essence.

The premise of our discussion though does not happen to be one deliberating on what maketh or not maketh a woman. That is a detail different for different individuals, we believe and isn’t therefore something that can be surmised by a single assertion of reason. Instead, it is in exploring the nurturing nature of us all as humans that led us to this forever curious fold of what serves as a marker of womanhood. While mothers might indeed be the most evident identity in which such characteristics of love and care and affection all come to rest in all their unboundedness, there exists still numerous other dynamics along which the awareness of human relationship works even when we choose to confine ourselves strictly to the feminine pursuance of it.

Embodying a trait equally humane, or womanly perhaps, since our ambling along this sphere in certainty caters to the gender norm in all its universality, in such fostering of the younger generation that classify indeed as pursuing the maternal instinct innately harbouring among all of us is what can occur also in such perceived lesser assertions of bonding that has been accorded such relational terminology of the aunt. Strictly sociological basis of being an aunt to someone might require you to be the sister of their parents or the wife of some sibling of the parent. But by extension and more essentially as well, aunts could be anyone happening to be almost the second mother of a child. So whether it is indeed some sibling in the family or a cousin among the relatives by which assertion you become what would be a biological aunt, or one not tied by notions of blood and kinship but instead stemming from relations fostered by your own self for instance friends or colleague, or even without any definite basis whatsoever, as in when you strike up a connect with some stranger child, being an aunt is as much resident of an emotion as it is of a relationship identity.

Aunt-Necklace
Source: Etsy

It is somewhat curious that assuming the role of an aunt might not be always as conscious a decision you get to make, as against the more deliberate, planned and indeed personal enough want to become a mom, or a parent for that matter. In that assertion and to that extent therefore, being an aunt might be an identity imposed on you even when it might still be something you cherish to claim yourself as. And it perhaps is in such quirky lines of identity along which one sees oneself becoming an aunt that affords this particular expression of relationship a charm rarely encountered in other such parental almost references on the bonding spectrum. Being an aunt is a relationship role that indeed is more varied, if not interesting outright, and that which therefore manifests itself as an assertion characterised by way more ‘coolness’ than other similar ties of the human connect.

The same stands true for uncles as well, the equivalent of aunt in terms of expression for the corresponding gender but concerned as we are with such explorations of the nurturing proclivity that necessarily relates to womanhood, it is the aunts of the world we need to exclusively chart out. Being an aunt is a blessing indeed, for in having access to kids but not being exclusively responsible for them, you get to live that part of life best summed up as offering the best of both worlds. For those who absolutely adore babies and tiny tots, the nieces and nephews they get to cherish as aunts themselves are indeed no lesser bundles of joy than what these little humans happen to be for the parents themselves. But unlike the parents losing out on some much valuable sleep every night or grossing out at the incessant changing of dirty nappies as part of them taking headon the challenges accruing from that massive parental responsibility, aunts do not have to assume that obligatory burden of the not so pleasants. Even when it might be occasional a demand out of aunts, as with any relatives for that matter, to babysit indeed the little ones, or even sometimes a responsibility the absolutely adoring second moms take on in all willingness, that still does indeed account to nothing compared to what parents as full time caretakers of the child have to endure in all their choice of the happy family life. Plus, having fun with kids when they aren’t your own is even more exciting a prospect, not in the least because you wouldn’t care about them but because you would be far less hyper in your dealings with them.

But beyond all that fun and entitlement emerging from a bond as diversive indeed as what the tiny tots bring to us, being an aunt is also an exercise in importance. Importance of the self assuming kind indeed of being the favorite adult among the many mini humans, with whom you get to relive your childhood in such assertions that being a parent can only half dawn upon you, but also in such manifestations that has you emerging as the role model instead for those nieces and nephews. As a big friend way more harbouring of the prospect of tuning into the naive rattlings of the younger lot, something that most parents fail to truly embody in their very nature as being overly worried instead of their children, it is common for kids to aspire for the cool quotient that being an aunt invariably brings upon one. In their friendly approach to this relationship distinct from any other of similar kind, even when they continue to as protective and motherly to the child, aunts offer the best versions of themselves to the young souls around them. Curious as it might seem, it is exactly in this premise of being (only) the second mother, in fact almost the mom but still not there yet, and thankfully indeed in many reiterations, aunts get to chart the course of what is referred to in relationship terms as quasi parenthood. By providing a more stable and steady relationship dynamic than the one a parent- child bond entails in greater chances of conflict, aunts prove to be a tremendous emotional boost for the emerging minds while making themselves available in person as well for all the cuddles and the plays, as well as in tantrums and in crisis. As a far more approachable version of authority as well as in not being the one on which the child is directly dependant in all of their stemming, aunts make for an entity easier to plead to and in turn easier to be pleaded as well, making them indeed the epitome of the wholesome figure that every child need in their life.

Another assertion why aunts come to occupy a place of importance beyond the child’s connection with them relates to the more holistic nature of their being. In their more than favored relation with both the parent and the child, this motherlike figure helps also in further making the immensely integral parent- child relationship as favourably convenient a premise across which young identities come to chart out enriching existences. The aunt- child relation itself also holds more scope of genuinity, as in its pursuance not out of obligation but by choice, the very nature of the bond transcends well beyond being a burden of responsibility and is therefore more fulfilling, more real and more fostering of the human essence. In entitling therefore young minds to valuable lessons in life and relationships itself, and in allowing them access to a world more adaptable than the one in which their parents govern their every way of life, both in their caring of them and out of their awareness in responsibility, aunts, and indeed uncles as well, stem as a strand of the essential relational exploration without which human life wouldn’t be half the liveable reality that it is.


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