Letter 19: To the Friends Who are Family

19 February 2012

Dear Friends and honorary: (take a deep breath here …) sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, uncles and aunties, etc, etc and so on …

My blood ties are few … I have a mother and a brother living, and my dear departed father provided me with a whole crowd of first cousins and through them many more seconds and thirds.  Somehow though we were out of kilter with them in family history and we stay in rare Christmas card and family funeral touch …  No children for me and my bro, no living grand parents, aunts or uncles or anything else and so that is our little Peachey family …

So there is me – ‘friend’ to a few … sometimes called sister … I always wanted a sister – ideally a twin one; there are twin girl cousins out there in the family tree; yet not me.  Not quite an only child, but spaced from my big brother by nearly 8 years and we were together in the early years, then separated through adolescence and distance and caught up with each other later in our lives, when our dad died.

So friend becomes sister, becomes honorary Auntie to babies … this role given by friendship, affection and love extended to you, as a non blood relative.  You get to love the expansion of your friend’s lives.  The title is given as a gift and in return you give gifts back … as ‘cool aunt’ your brief is to spoil those darling children rotten when you have the ways and means at your disposal … 

So you grow up and grow older, watching the babies follow in your wake, establishing the patterns of their lives … watching the changing facial features, the family characteristics – now like their mum, now like dad … grand-dad … cousin … who knows who?  The inherent fascination and dissertation of seeing the lineage reflected and altered in unique genetic combination.

And as my world is filled with new generations, so too is my mother’s.  No blood grand-babies for her, so she becomes honorary Nanna to two.  So proud I am she does this, that she is allowed to shine and show her capability for love and generosity; and when I take her round to meet my friend’s babies, they all hang round her, for she has a child like quality which pulls them in.  Straight away, the purse is open, gifts are given … I remember HER mother too giving me sixpences, and so it goes on …

In my childhood, there were aunts and uncles and they came with affection and affinity, though rarely were there parental friends around to be granted the honorary given title I have gained in abundance.  So even now, after a quarter of a century of being an Aunt, I am so surprised at how I am accepted, welcomed and you can see – loved by those who had no choice but to have me there, to have me to share.  Now they see ME, not ‘just’ Auntie, for many of them have grown out of the title now and as I am Sandra to my life long friends, so now too to them …

And else where, I am known as ‘Auntie Sandra’ to ALL the family – adults and children alike – a huge loving reminder of the affectionate part I play in their lives. 

So the single girl creates a family, gets to hug the children and give them back … then time flows on and she becomes a strange new creature of honorary familyness – a Great Aunt indeed! 

So it was that I held one baby in my arms and looked down at her and then, so little time later, it is HER son in his turn, in my arms … I hold this new born personality for hours, looking down at him, held and sated with the special milky love that comes with cradling a precious new life.  So in that room there is Mother, Grand Mother and Auntie, all quietly together, loving this new little lad. 

Then how quickly quiet turns to toddler noise and we move on and on, inexorably, pacing through life with the new comers beside us: sometimes stopping together, sometimes in step and sometimes continents apart; and I am woven into the fabric of their living, of their memories and mostly they come closer and some shy away; and shying away is allowed, since this is not necessarily unconditional love, but it IS acceptance, just like I gladly accepted the gift of them into my rounded, bonded Auntified kind of life … 

And is it coincidence this love spills over into my vocation and how much I love my clients, those whose orbits I circle in; for as I love to be cherished, I love to cherish too and to me coaching is cherishing and loving and nurturing.  Sometimes this is soft supporting love and some times shaking love, but throughout time I would tell my babies the score if that felt required; and still they love me and still we move on and where ever it is we happen to go; we all move on in love.

   Big love and hugs,

         Auntie S xxx

PS: Peachey Letters has now been published as a book, to find out more and purchase your own copies – follow this  link…

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