When I was a little girl, my Aunt Ilene babysat me quite a bit. One of my earliest and dearest memories is when I stayed with her while my mother was in the hospital giving birth to my sister. I remember returning to my aunt's apartment building, and sitting down in the lobby to put on a beautiful, gold, sparkly, plastic pair of high-heels. I can hear the clip-clip-clip as we walk to the elevator, and I remember showing the shoes off to my grandma who was upstairs in the apartment.
My aunt and her family eventually moved out of Brooklyn to Long Island. We spent many a fun-filled weekend there, playing with my cousins and the other neighborhood kids. We loved my aunt, and knew she loved us. So it was only natural, when my father told us that he'd had an affair and that my parents were getting divorced, that I'd want to go be with Aunt Ilene.
Before my parents sat us down that June afternoon, we knew something strange was going on in our house. My mom had lost a lot of weight, and I worried that she was dying. When I found out why she lost the weight, I felt a great responsibility to be strong for her, and to be angry at my father on her behalf. I knew how much my mother loved me (a subject for a post of its own). But I knew I needed comforting, and I didn't feel I could ask that of her.
So my dad took me out to Suffolk county, and I spent a few days there, soaking in the love and hanging out. I'll never forget the first morning. My aunt had gone to the office, and called to check on me. She asked "what'd you have for breakfast?" When I answered "two Blow-pops," she responded "that's good." No- ohmygosh that's no good! You'd better eat something else! Just acceptance. And love.
I told both of these stories at my aunt's 60th birthday party this summer. I ended by saying that everyone needs an Aunt Ilene, who'll let them have Blow-pops for breakfast. The party was a surprise, and she was shocked to see my family and me there. I shared some memories that my sister emailed to me since she wasn't able to come to the party. I made it through my stories without tears, but couldn't read the last line of my sister's email through my tears.
This post inspired by today's post on Supersisters- a new blog by Jen Lemen and two of her equally amazing sisters.