Being the oldest of three girls is a blessing I wouldn’t want to trade for anything except maybe 60 billion dollars and a truck full of ice cream, coke and pawpaw. I get to teach my sisters a lot of things, I get to fill in for my mum. I understand better than them the way the world works and I probably understand how to relay it to them better than Mama would care to do. I get to do the sex education and body image thing, I get to stand on their behalf when a row with our parents come up, do you get the gist already?
But being the oldest also means I have no one to do those things for me. That’s where the older aunt comes in, which to me, is the bestest gift a girl could ever have.
Who She Is, What She Does
She’s like a mum, only way cooler. She brings presents, she’s always willing to listen, her scolding is constructive. She keeps secrets and doesn’t judge you for any of it. You trade everything, skin care routines, beauty secrets, growing up life and experiences, baking recipes and etcetera. My aunt Debbie taught me above all things, what it really means to honor my parents. She doesn’t replace my Mama, instead, she bridges the gap to bring us closer. She doesn’t just work on us girls, she works on Mama too.
She was the one who taught me how to cook bitter leaf soup and owo soup. She gave me the best recipes for when acne was showing me serious pepper like I was being punished for offending the gods of the land. She’s my catalog for tips (cotton undies are best; don’t wear undies to bed; how to measure boob cup and size; in making up, moderacy is best; there is no excuse for laziness; you will always be responsible and held accountable for your younger ones; learn to cover for them).
To all the older aunts the world over, thank you. I know you have your own issues and you aren’t perfect goddesses of makeup, fashion and stable lives, you are women and girlfriends and mothers struggling daily through your lives, but not forgetting you were once teenage girls with raging hormones and young adults confused, scared and uncertain about life, so you understand us, and you always have the right words to say. You don’t judge, you listen and laugh and correct. You don’t instruct, you direct. You are amazing and beautiful and strong and weak and full of flaws and you always make us sure of ourselves. You always help. Thank you.