In the Black community there’s a role called ”The Auntie“. Now, let me properly introduce the definition for those of you who are melanin-deficient. (This is one of those teachable moments y’all stay requiring.) In the Black community your parents’ friends are your aunts and uncles and their kids are your cousins. There does not need to be an actual biological or marriage tie for this to happen. But I digress....The Auntie is usually a woman who does not have children of her own, tends to know her way around a bar or a dispensary, has the vocabulary of a Princeton professor, a preacher, and a death row inmate all rolled into one, buys her groceries from places where even the bags are organic, and shops at the stores your mama said only women who fuck drug dealers can afford, can cook better than all them chefs on TV, and she probably has a dog that can get on furniture you’re not even allowed to sit on. The Auntie is the person you go to when you know the shit you have going on is sure to make your parents abort your living ass! She’s the one who will give you the shirt off her back and cuss your ass out for even needing a damn shirt at the same damn time. She is the second favorite member of the Black family....y’all know grandmama is the reigning #1! While she is a respected elder, she isn’t always super old. Auntie-ism has been known to start as early as 25. Some of us have old souls so we get our stripes early. Now there is a common misconception that The Auntie has no desire to have biological children of her own. This isn’t always true. Some do enjoy the peace of only having to tend to their own maintenance. Shit, some aunties don’t even want a significant other! Y’all heard Auntie Whoopi say she doesn’t want anybody in her damn house! And there are some aunties who have their own children but they’re so damn good at mothering that it extends to the entire village. Then there are aunties like me. I do not have biological children nor adopted children. I had a dog. Unfortunately, due to liver disease she’s with the ancestors now. I’ll spare you the details, but prior to having my fur baby I was informed by medical professionals that my chances of carrying a baby or even getting pregnant were slim to none. I was 26 years old when I was given that information. By then I’d already been promoted from Big Cousin to Auntie. And I was ready to be a mommy. I knew the amount of love in my heart would be best utilized by giving birth. Shit ain’t quite work out that way. Here I am, 13 years later and I’m sitting firmly in my status as an auntie. And I find myself NEEDING a child. Let me quantify what I mean by NEEDING a child. I no longer feel the need to be pregnant or have a child living in my home under my care 24/7. For years I felt like my status as a woman was pending until I achieved those two things. It took me a very long time to understand the role that I was meant to play. When I say I NEED a child, I mean I need to love. I feel an obligation to my community to give back. I have been nurtured and cared for by elders my entire life. At 39, I sit comfortably at the feet of my elders whenever they speak because my ass ain't done learning yet! But I need to love. Like many aunties without children, I see parents too tired to tap into certain areas of their kids' lives because just the essentials drain them. I see kids going through shit that I went through at their age and needing an ear or a shoulder. My parents had amazing friends when I was growing up and they took their roles in the village very seriously. To this day, I have aunties and uncles who have my back and advise me accordingly, not because I can't go to my father, but because they recognize that a village doesn't shut down when you turn 18. I know the significance of these people is immeasurable. So it is with honor and pleasure that I take my role as Auntie very seriously. I am the person who knows many secrets about the kid before the parents do. However, it is very clear to all my nieces and nephews that *insert drum roll* 🗣
I AIN'T ONE OF THEIR LITTLE FRIENDS!!!!!!!! Yes, I will make a safe haven for them to confide in me. But their safety, of any kind, is always the priority. Your kids are safe with me because I will insert my foot into their asses while I'm keeping them safe from their own destruction that they don't tell you about. I was having a conversation with someone a few weeks ago and I remember saying that I wasn't placing too much weight on my opinion about something because I've never been a mother. This woman, who has birthed children from her womb, looked me square in the eye and told me that if I've ever nurtured a child, I've been a mother. She doesn't know it, but the validation in her words was something I had no clue I needed. For my entire adult life I've felt like less than a woman because I have never had children. I felt even worse after I got married. It's not like you can just pop up pregnant from lesbian sex, so not giving my wife children made me feel like a failure. Not giving my parents grandchildren made me feel like a failure. My father always stressed the importance of being a productive member of society. So how was I being productive if I couldn't even produce humans for the future? I struggled with this shit for years. Then one day I realized the beauty of being an investor and not the owner. I can drop gems when needed, reap benefits, and not have to be committed 24/7. It was almost like an epiphany. And by that time, I'd already been successfully auntie-ing for 10 years. And it dawned on me that I did not have to have a childbirth as a rite of passage to validate my womanhood. I was already showing up being exactly who I am supposed to be, The Auntie.