“Auntie”, not the least bit intimidated by that huge bottle of wine!

More than an aunt…

For at least the past couple of decades, I’ve referred to one of my Mom’s sisters as my auntie, not just as my aunt. She may not realize it, but there’s a reason behind this. At a certain point, I decided I needed to recognize in my own heart that this aunt is different and I needed to single her out a bit in my brain’s database. I’ve had four aunts in my life, but Auntie Karen is so much more than an aunt.

She’s like the perfect balance between the role of a mother — responsible and influencing, and the role of a grandmother — fun and spontaneous.

Throughout my childhood, she was always the aunt that lived somewhere else. A visit to her required a special trip and that meant changing things up and potentially lots of excitement. What kid doesn’t look forward to that?

She’s a mother and a grandmother. Her love is contagious and shines through brilliantly. Her energy and charisma can light up a room.

She’s a friend, a confidant, a role model. I’ve had conversations with her that are different than the ones I have with my friends and my mother. She has this unique perspective that no one else in my life lends. When I chose to move away from home for college her experiences had a huge influence on me.

When the distance felt like a challenge I sometimes would seek out a call with her just to remind myself that things were going to be okay. It has always seemed like she took a lesser-traveled road than most.

She’s compassionate, generous, and determined. I’ve never spent time with her and not felt as though my heart is a bit fuller afterward. Whether it’s just a random meal that requires a slight adventure to obtain the main component like shrimp fresh from the docks or a trip to another country just to do a little shopping (Canada is easy to get to from Michigan), a visit with Auntie is always a memorable one. She goes out of her way for people and if you end up in her way you might want to step aside, cause when she’s got an agenda she’s going to get it done.

She’s a teacher (literally), a traveler, and doesn’t sleep much. I always enjoyed hearing about the students she had in her classes. The impact she had on so many young lives during those years is immeasurable. The stories that have been shared after trips to far off lands allow me to live a bit vicariously through her and my bucket list grows with each one. You can always count on Auntie for a good book recommendation, cause you can bet you’ll always find one at her bedside table.

She continually reminds me unconsciously that life is precious and you have to make the most of it. As I ponder the next chapter of my life it’s easy to look to her for inspiration. She reminds me that, “You only get one shot at this life, so you’ve got to make it good”.

I could go on and on listing what’s so amazing about her, but she’s only turning 70, so I need to run and try to catch up with her so my list can continue to grow!

Thank you, “Auntie” for being such an important part of my life, and happy birthday! Wishing you another brilliant and memorable trip around the sun…and then some!

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