Auntie Says..., Faye Arcand

Please, Can you Help me? It’s just a couple of simple questions.

I started my Auntie column and blog over three years ago. I did it because I love giving advice and sharing my opinion (or is it giving my opinion and sharing advice? Hmm…)–either way, I love being an Auntie and I love doing my articles.

So, I need your help.

Can you answer these questions for me please…. There’s no right or wrong answers. I’m looking for personal experiences and opinion.

What is an Auntie?

What kind of relationship did (or do) you have with your Auntie?

How was your life changed by having an Auntie in it?

I want to hear from anyone and everyone–Aunties, nieces, nephews, uncles…whomever.

Please share in the comments and help me build my understanding what an Auntie does for you and what that means and looks like in your life—whether you’re trans, straight, non-binary, not white, related by blood or not, childless, —anybody and everybody. I want to know!

19 thoughts on “Please, Can you Help me? It’s just a couple of simple questions.”

  1. An Auntie is a one biologically.
    I had two aunties. One was distant, in person and otherwise. No relationship there. The other auntie was a fun adult. She laughed with me, even with my mischief. She did not scold me. She was safe.
    My life was changed in that I got to experience this familial relationship along with others. I have a point of reference when the term “auntie” is used. I have happy memories of her. In her later years I got to see another woman of strength besides my own mother.

  2. Auntie, the sister of my father or mother.

    I also think of some extreamly close family friends as a kind of Auntie. I never use that name for them, but they know they are adopted family, not just friends anymore.

    Most of my biological anties lived very far from me. Times at grandmas when we would gather for christmas was special. Was closer to my mothers sister then to my fathers. Very different family dynamic on either side.

    My Aunties on my fathers side have shown my parta of the world I never would have seen without them.

    My Aunties on my Moms side have given me emotional suport when I needed it the most. Welcomed me in to there homes as a depressed and hurting teen.

    They are beautiful people, everyone.

  3. I have many aunts as both sides of my family all large.

    However, my #1 favorite aunt is the one I grew up with. My mom was a single parent with 3 girls. My aunt lived with us and helped raise my sisters and I. I remember learning to dance, roller skate and ride bikes with my aunt. She loved playing barbie and coloring with us. So much fun!

    We are still very close and chat a few times a week. She was never able to have children of her own. She’s like a second mom!

    1. Azilde! Wow…such a gift you rec’d from your Auntie and I bet you were in turn a huge gift for her. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad you had that special connection with someone who could support you through life…and you, her. oxox

  4. First of all, I never called any of my three aunts “Auntie”. My mother’s only sister was my favorite aunt when I was young…she traveled the world, lived in Africa for a few years, and always brought back a new foreign doll for my collection when she traveled. She also got me the best books. But we lost connection when I ran away from home and all my relatives pulled back in deference to my mother. My father’s younger sister became a much-loved aunt to me over the past 12 years or so; I often wished she’d been my mother instead, because she listened and cared. But now she has dementia and my traveling aunt died over 20 years ago. My third aunt has never been close, geographically or otherwise. So I’d say I’m Aunt-less and have been most of my life.

    1. Such an interesting collection of aunts you have/had. Just wondering what your traveling aunt was doing all those years and in Africa?

      1. She was a perennial university student, and ended up as a professor at McGill University, where she actually dropped dead of an aneurism while she was teaching a class…Before that, in Nigeria, she taught at a university and viewed it as a chance to experience another culture. It’s funny she ended up in Calabar, which I later visited when I lived in Lagos…Calabar has to be the slowest-moving city in the world, and she always liked to take things slow–so she must’ve fit right in. The rest of us were always annoyed at how long it took her to do basic things, like get a cup of coffee or prepare for an outing. I’m glad she found her tribe, even if it was only for a while!

    2. Oh Marilyn thank you for sharing. It almost seems like the relationship was a tease for you over the years. I’m sorry the ultimate connection was never made. It sounds like your were privy to lots of personalities that had brief impacts on who you were. I wonder how different things could have been especially that last Aunt… xoxo

      1. Yes, the aunt I got close to in recent years also regrets that we didn’t do so sooner. But her love means the world to me, even if we can’t talk like we used to.

  5. Hi Faye! Interesting questions! My own aunts (on both mom’s and dad’s side) lived at a distance, and we usually saw them just once or twice a year–and it was like a family party, with loads of cousins to hang out with, so I didn’t really spend a lot of personal time with my aunts in my growing-up years. But a few years ago, when my mom was going through dementia, and I was her primary visitor/caregiver, her sisters (my aunts, of course), were the ones who called regularly and offered their love and emotional support. Sadly, they both developed dementia later on, but I then could offer the same support to their daughters (as an auntie!).

    That said, my husband, as an Indigenous man, comes from a close-knit, large extended family culture where it seems everyone is a relation and every woman is an auntie and/or a nannii (grandmother). This has opened my eyes (and heart) to a whole other way of understanding the roles and relationships of aunties—and sisters, too, since they consider cousins to be sisters. It’s wonderful!

    1. Norma, thanks for stopping by. Yes, back in the day it always seemed like families were separated by distance. Things are so different now aren’t they? I’m glad that you’ll be able to be there for your nieces. And the Indigenous family structure is one I love. The idea that the title of Auntie resonated beyond the bloodline. This is so special. Thanks for sharing.

  6. **This is an email I received from my Bro-in-law Don.**
    I am responding to your post about what is an Auntie. My answer relates to Chris and Curt who grew up overseas. They did not often see their auntie and uncles who were related to them. But they learned to call all of our close friends and collegues aunties and uncles. These people became like family to them. They helped celebrate birthdays, went to different events together with them, babysat them, etc. Even to this day when they are adults and they talk with these people, they refer to them as uncles and aunties. There is still a close bond between them. I am glad that now Chris and Curt have the opportunity to know their Auntie Faye and Uncle Mike better.

  7. **This is an email I received from my cousin’s son Kasey…my “nephew” by choice. Isn’t life awesome?**

    An auntie is special. Auntie is a term of affection you bestow upon that one lady to whom you share a special connection. Often a generation before your time, an auntie is that family member or very close family friend with whom you can confide in. You may not communicate or socialize with your auntie on a frequent basis, but this does not matter because of her status as your auntie. This is like a pastor or a priest in that you may not always go to church, but they still love you all the same.

    Your auntie will always be there for you in whatever capacity she can. She is always a phone call, a text, or email away, and will always respond when she can. You can tell her anything without fear of judgement. She will listen to you intently and carefully and provide you with advice that you may not necessarily want to hear, but it will usually be the advice you need to hear. You should listen to what your auntie has to say, for she is experienced and most often very wise. She will not sugar coat anything, but instead, she will give you the hard truth. This is of course not out of spite but stems from love.

    An auntie will always care and support you in all that you do. An auntie is a special term reserved for only those deserving of it, for many can be an aunt by default, but only a few will wear the honour badge of auntie.

    Love you, Auntie Faye.


  8. As an Asian, the term auntie refers to anyone older than us by one generation. So we usually call our friends’ mothers auntie. The Cantonese has specific names for each auntie (second brother’s wife has a different title compared to first brother’s wife, and it goes on), and since I’m half-Chinese-half Portuguese/Dutch/whatever-bloodline-that-colonised-this-part-of-the-world, my definition of auntie has never really been that straightforward.

    I’m not super close with anyone other than my immediate family, so I can’t say that my aunts have affected me more than my mum’s friends (whom we also call aunties), so there’s that!

    1. Well “that” is very interesting! The cultural difference is fascinating. A few years ago I was in Asia and a young man called me Auntie. I took it as a form of respect…I hope he wasn’t just calling me an old lady. lol. The importance of having mature wisdom outside of the immediate family (ie: mom and dad) is also a huge theme with “Auntie”.
      Stuart, thanks so much for sharing. It opens my eyes to other cultures and I love to learn. xo

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