Anna Carey wrote a great piece in the Irish Independent about “PANKs” – Professional Aunts No Kids. No more is the image of childless aunties as “fussy ol ladies” — we’re a happening bunch that play an important role in children’s lives. Technically, I am not an aunt by blood but am an “auntie” to a few of my close friends’ kids. Some call me auntie, to others, I am their godmother. I’ll take either one. While I don’t want kids of my own,
I am one of many childfree who love being part of the lives of my loved ones’ children. I truly believe I was born not to be a mom but an auntie.
Childfree aunties out there, Elizabeth Gilbert calls us the “Auntie Brigade”….
Here is an excerpt from Committed that speaks to how important aunties can be in children’s lives.
“..there are stories on both sides of truly magnificent aunties who stepped in and saved the day during emergencies. Often able to accrue education and resources precisely because they were childless, these women had enough spare income and compassion to pay for lifesaving operations, or to rescue the family farm, or to take in a child whose mother had fallen gravely ill. I have a friend who calls these sorts of child-rescuing aunties “sparents”— “spare parents” — and the world is filled with them.”
More…“..Tolstoy and Truman Capote and all the Brontë sisters were raised by their childless aunts after their real mothers had either died or abandoned them. Tolstoy claimed that his Aunt Toinette was the greatest influence of his life, as she taught him ‘the moral joy of love.’ John Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi, who convinced the boy that he would be an important artist someday. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s loyal Aunt Annabel offered to pay for his college education. Frank Lloyd Wright’s first building was commissioned by his Aunts Jane and Nell — two lovely old maids who ran a boarding school in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Coco Chanel, orphaned as a child, was raised by her Aunt Gabrielle, who taught her how to sew — a useful skill for the girl, I think we would all agree. Virginia Woolf was deeply influenced by her Aunt Caroline, a Quaker spinster who devoted her life to charitable works, who heard voices and spoke to spirits, and who seemed, as Woolf recalled years later, “a kind of modern prophetess.”
I’m sure there just as many stories today as these folks from the past. Share your PANK stories with us! Uncles, too….do you play an important role in young person’s life? What is your experience?
Childfree aunties out there, if you don’t know about it already, check out savvyauntie. It’s all about aunties, childfree and not. Great articles, tips on gifts for kids, and more. Love the name…here’s to savvy and awesome PANKs !