Every child should have a favorite aunt. Growing up, mine was my mom’s younger sister, Nedra, or as I dubbed her early on, Aunt Nanna. Only when an elementary school friend teased me about her name (Aunt Banana!) did I begin calling her Aunt Nedra.
Beautiful, teen-aged Aunt Nedra spoiled me rotten. She was the softer, more lenient, counterpoint to my strict mom and when I was with her I got away with all sorts of mischief.
Of course once Nedra married and had children of her own our relationship changed. She had to act like a mom herself then, but her children were as close to me as my own siblings back in those days. We all lived in Floydada, Texas, and not much was off limits or out of bounds. My life was good.
Then life changed. Nedra’s bunch moved away and she went through a divorce. All of us grew up, married, lost loved ones. And now, not a single living member of my mom’s family lives in Floydada anymore.
My Aunt Nedra married a wonderful man, my Uncle Richard many years ago and they settled in Canyon, Texas. I hadn’t seen them since my dad’s funeral in 2006. Until today. And what a happy day!
My mother-in-law (Saint Helen) and I drove to Canyon to Nedra and Richard’s home. They knew we were coming, so Nedra was waiting at the door to welcome us. My Aunt Nanna. And there was Uncle Richard sitting in his favorite chair. Nedra had cooked lunch and we had a wonderful visit. It wasn’t nearly long enough, but two years’ worth of talk wouldn’t have sufficed.
We forget, I think, the important places in our hearts that have been claimed by these favorite aunts and uncles until we can see them and hug them and have all of those emotions and memories come rolling in and crashing over us. We have a shared history of family loved and lost, of experiences both profound and silly. Nothing can ever replace that. No one can ever replace these loved ones.
Love you Aunt Nanna and Uncle Richard.