This month is my Dad’s sister’s birthday. My Dad’s sister, as in my auntie. Unusually, she’s only two years older than me. We spent a lot of time together growing up, so she was my first best friend.
My Mom and Dad were young when I was born, only very early 20s, and my Nan and Grandad on both sides were always around to help them out. Because of the closeness in age between me and my auntie, I used to stay over lots. We played with the same toys, had the same Christmas presents and even dressed the same! My Nan used to knit us matching cardigans and my Mom would make us matching skirts. We looked like sisters, sometimes even like twins!
I’m on the right – spot the matching nurse outfits!
When we were little she used to take advantage of her status sometimes, by making me call her Auntie if she was being bossy. We used to argue, as close family does. We were laughing only last week about the time she punched me on the nose and gave me a nosebleed! I would stay at her house for days and weeks on end during the school holidays. We used to go out on our bikes and make dens in the garden using deckchairs and my Nan’s old net curtains. We’d put on dancing and singing shows for my Nan and Grandad on Saturday nights. My first holiday was with her, in Ibiza when I was 6 (read about it here).
When I was 8 and she was 10, my Grandad died. He was only in his 50s and had a massive heart attack. She was sleeping over at my house that night. It changed her life forever.
Losing a parent so young, so unfairly, could have made her into a bitter person. She could have gone off the rails. But she didn’t. She was a tower of strength to my Nan who, understandably, lost the plot at being widowed so suddenly. She was very quickly thrown into being an adult, helping around the house and being a support network. She never complained, even though I know life was really difficult for her.
As we got older our lives took different directions. I became something of a party girl while she settled down with her now husband. She has two amazing kids, an enviable outlook on life and positivity for days. She’s so incredibly helpful, going above and beyond to organise Christmas parties for the kids of her work colleagues and family get togethers. She’s strong willed and strong natured whilst being laid back and fun. She amazes me in her approach to life, her stoicism, her parenting and generally being a great human being
I don’t actually call her Auntie these days! But I’m proud that she is.
Love you Manda. x
Thanks, as always, for reading! x