Auntie What’s Her Name

I live too far away.

My niece tells me when I arrive. While we are in the midst of our grand first hug. Three days in and I confirm in my heart what it didn’t want to admit. She is right. This is how I really know.

Catie is 12 and Em is 10. And oh, the memories we have! The visits much more plentiful when funds were freely flowing. It never seemed really so far, the distance between Chicago and San Diego. A quick hop on the plane and boom, hugs and love abound.

This time is no different. There are definitely hugs and love abound. But B.

B is only 4. She knows me. But she doesn’t know me like the other two do. I’m that fun stranger that she knows belongs here because she knows I’m her mommy’s sister. She’s free with her affection, like she is with all.

She calls me Auntie. It’s cute. It’s what comes after it that lets me know I live too far away.

Auntie Ingi
Auntie what’s her name Emma?
Auntie Sara
Auntie Mommy’s Sister

I remind myself that all of them are love. Ingi is my aunt. Sara is her nanny and my cousin. I am her mommy’s sister. I am her Auntie.  I know the love when I walk in with my sister and she comes running across the room past my sister, shouting Auntie, and launches herself into my arms. I know the love when we go somewhere and she proudly tells them that this is HER Auntie. I know the love when she lets me eat the ears off her chocolate bunny when everyone knows it’s the best.

I know that she’ll use the Kim that defines me as the aunt that is her mommy’s sister. I know that. I know it doesn’t truly matter because she feels my love and I feel hers. I just know that when I leave, the Kim will fade and I will be Auntie again. To rebuild the next time I see her.

I live too far away.


7 thoughts on “Auntie What’s Her Name

  1. My heart breaks just a little after reading this. It’s poignant and bittersweet. And I can fully relate. Not because I’m an auntie or because I live far away but because I am a mommy who works all day and my kids are with Grandma who lives with us so when I come home every day, there is always that paradigm shift and once too often I am “Grandm – I mean, Mommy” until they get used to me over and over again.

  2. I can relate also. I have a niece and nephew in Baltimore. My older niece who 11 knows me well, but her younger brother, 7, doesn’t identify with me as well, and although he is the sweetest, cutest little man, I can sense that he feels I am somewhat of a stranger.. for at least the first day of a visit. It doesn’t feel right. But we have to make the best of the situation. You wrote this perfectly, Kim.

  3. Yes, little B in her own four year old way remembers you as Auntie….and what comes with this…the name, Kim will come with time. It does make it clear that Chicago is far from San Diego…there are events you will miss…but some you won’t. Soon it might be that they can come visit their Auntie. I know when my sister and I were old enough to visit our uncles and aunts in Colorado…it was thrilling. Jackie

  4. I so understand. And from the mom who takes her daughter far from her aunties, and everyone else, we work hard for her to know the names through pictures on the fridge, albums, and Skype. But Auntie itself is pretty special.

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