When my Uncle Dan was  in Seattle, he and his friend took me and my then-bf to dinner. Our plus-ones were sitting there kinda bored while Uncle Dan and I caught one another up on what’s going on in the family. At one point his friend chimed in, saying something along the lines of, “you seem to actually like your family.”

I learned to be a great aunt from my aunts.
I learned to be a great aunt from my aunts.

Uncle Dan and I exchanged a look, like “well, yeah.”

That’s when I realized not everyone’s family is like mine. Family was never an obligation for me. I love Thanksgiving dinner, cousins’ graduation parties and calling Grandma.

In our virtual world, many of us keep in touch on Facebook. My aunts are often quick to congratulate me on new jobs or like my photo posts. It feels really good.

When I became an aunt, I started seeing my own aunts differently. I noticed how they look at me the way I look at Isabella. Everything Isabella does is incredible to me. I am so proud of her accomplishments. I love hearing her stories.

My Aunt Peggy in Seattle does all those things in person. I stayed with her for a month when I got back to Seattle. When I cried, she came out and sat with me on the couch, put her arm around me and listened to me cry. When I told her I got a job offer, she dropped what she was doing in the kitchen, gave me a hug and celebrated with me. Every day when I got home from work or wherever I was, she asked if I had dinner or wanted hot chocolate. She told me stories about my grandparents and her, my dad and their brothers as kids.

I had no way of knowing that within a week of me leaving her house, she’d have a serious heart attack that would change everything. She’s fighting to survive, yet when I visit her in the hospital, she still asks if I’m OK and if I like my new job.

My family will take all the good vibes and prayers you can send our way. We’ve got some hurdles in our way.

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