Aunts and Uncles

David Trammel's picture

Sometimes I think the well to do rediscover something many of the lower economic classes still do as a matter of course, and think they have invented something completely new. I am an "uncle" for several of my friends' kids. I know several women, who are sisters to married siblings with kids who fulfill the role of aunt. We do it to save money and help out, just as people of our class have been doing for 3000 years.

"'Aunt with no kids': The women redefining family roles"

"When Caroline was growing up, she pictured herself ending up surrounded by children. Now in her 50s, that is exactly how her life has turned out, except not in quite the way she imagined. While she was “never in a position that it made sense” to have children herself, Caroline is a proud and very involved aunt to eight nephews and nieces.

“I sometimes describe it as my brothers have reproduced very successfully on my behalf,” jokes Caroline, a forensic psychologist who lives in Shoreham-by-Sea in southern England. “I’ve got all these lovely kids around who I really enjoy spending time with, and I haven’t had to give birth or have sleepless nights.” Caroline, whose surname is being withheld to protect the children's privacy, relishes the time she spends with her nieces and nephews, and feels she has a tangible connection to the next generation through them.

For her, aunthood isn’t a runner-up prize, but instead "it feels like a total bonus”. She sees her embrace of the role as pushback against the “fierce” promotion of motherhood, and wishes more women were aware aunthood can be “a totally valid choice” instead."

lathechuck's picture

With declining birth rates comes an increasing population of adults with neither children nor siblings to produce nieces and nephews. And older adults with adult children but no grandchildren. Yet some adults die early, and so they leave grandchildren without grandparents. Young adults with children may have no living parents. It seems like there should be a social mechanism for creating family-like relationships for those who want them.

However, in this second Year of Our Pandemic, is anyone creating new social relationships? The elderly, especially, are told to fear the unvaccinated young, bearers of traditional and novel viruses. Maybe new relationships will have to wait.