‘Pink & Sparkly’ From Aunty Cate

Beautiful! But it’s as pink as I do.
Image credit: Mary/flickr.com/photos/virgomerry/402534971/

I love pink tulips and you’ll be my friend for life if you ever give me some, but actually I simply look ridiculous if I try to do ‘pink and sparkly’.  Be under no illusions.  I don’t do ‘pink and sparkly’.  Ever.

I learnt that lesson back in the 1980’s when we went through the pink and grey fashion phase.  In an attempt at the time to be the 1980’s equivalent of hip, young and cool I had a pink and grey outfit for work.  I wore it regularly but never looked anything but pale, washed out and completely ridiculous.  Eventually I learnt my lesson that simply because something is fashion, doesn’t mean I should adopt it.

Pink just isn’t me.  I don’t suit the colour (I also learnt in the 80’s that I’m more autumn colouring) and it really just doesn’t suit my personality either.  As for sparkly?  I can’t think of anything more ridiculous than me with diamantes, glitter, fairy dust and the like.  Who am I trying to kid?  Sometimes it takes a while, but  I always think it is important to accept who I am, and move on.

That said, never fear.   I do have a ‘pink and sparkly’ outlet.  It comes in the form of nieces, and coming up soon two nieces have birthdays, so I get my chance.  The fact that their parents might not do ‘pink and sparkly’ either, gives me more incentive to make sure these two girls get ‘pink and sparkly’.  Of course it helps that the older of the two (who will be turning six this year) has always been very out and proud about her love of all things ‘pink and sparkly’.  In recent years I have made sure that both Christmas and birthdays were marked appropriately, regardless of her parents distaste of such things.

This year (and to my friends who know her, please don’t spoil the surprise) I have got her a pink and sparkly duvet cover for her bed.  She will love it, even if her parents don’t appreciate the hand-wash label.  Look at it this way.  It means her parents don’t have to indulge her pink and sparkly side because they know full well that her aunty will.  That is one of the wonders of being an aunt.

The second niece birthday approaching is just two weeks later, with the centre of attention being L (who I have talked about often) who will be turning two.  The other day when I was visiting she was taking great interest in the rings I was wearing, so I’m sensing ‘pink and sparkly’ will be in order for her too.  At least this time, I know her parents won’t grimace and be thinking “How dare Aunty Cate!”.  Between now and then I’m going to need to do some serious shopping.

I have a third niece, the older sister of the six year old.  She has never done ‘pink and sparkly’ so don’t worry, I don’t inflict it on her.  She is into doing craft activities and so this year she got a craft project to work on, which she apparently loved.  Her parents readily accept that craft is also beyond them, but at least I know there is a perfectly capable, and crafty nanny on the scene to help.  And in case you’re wondering so far, none of the boys are showing any interest in pink and sparkly, so yes, I am able to adapt my gifts to their taste.  Actually the boys are always much more interested in chocolate.

That’s the thing about being an aunt, to boys or girls.  I get to give them things they would like, rather than perhaps what they should have.  For all parents worrying right now, I promise that I try to keep their parents’ views in mind but I guess I take the ‘all care and no responsibility’ line. Okay, so ‘no responsibility’ isn’t quite right.  If they are in my care then yes, I am responsible. Mostly what governs my attitude towards my six nieces and nephews is love.

I don’t have children of my own, but these kids are very much connected to my flesh and blood.  They are my brothers’ children, and it’s a place I can share some love and affection. Right now they’re also all at good ages to be able to accept and appreciate it (in their own ways).  Unfortunately three of them don’t live nearby and so I don’t see them or know them as well as I like, but I’d still do anything for them.

It’s funny because I know people who hate the term aunt or uncle and don’t want to be known as one.  I love it.  My own aunts and uncles were never close to me, again because of geographical distance, but they are still important to me, and I respect them each greatly.  When I use the term aunt or uncle to describe their relationship to me I do so with honour.  I am proud to call them by that term.  It’s the same with being an aunt.  Actually the first people to call me Cate (instead of Catherine) were my eldest nephews.  Aunty Cate was a whole lot easier for them to learn to say than Aunty Catherine.  It stuck.  The ‘Cate’ and the ‘Aunty’.

Like everyone, I have family issues too.  None of us have the perfect family and we’ve probably all been hurt by them at times.  For me, I think it hurts so much sometimes because family matters.  Even if I wanted to, I can’t walk away from them because we have a connection of blood that binds me to them.  I know I am fortunate to not have had the problems with family that some experience.  It simply reminds me to be thankful for what I’ve got.

Going back to ‘pink and sparkly’, it’s not who I am… and that’s fine.  But I love it in the right place, and at the right time.  And much as families are hard work, when it comes down to it I love them (even the adults). 🙂

“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse…and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”

―    Rick Riordan,    The Sea of Monsters

“No one fights dirtier or more brutally than blood; only family knows it’s own weaknesses, the exact placement of the heart. The tragedy is that one can still live with the force of hatred, feel infuriated that once you are born to another, that kinship lasts through life and death, immutable, unchanging, no matter how great the misdeed or betrayal. Blood cannot be denied, and perhaps that’s why we fight tooth and claw, because we cannot—being only human—put asunder what God has joined together.”  

 –    Whitney Otto,    How to Make an American Quilt

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5 thoughts on “‘Pink & Sparkly’ From Aunty Cate

  1. You know a bit about my three girls, and I get the best of both worlds with them, as for the most part, we love a lot of the same things (plus I could finger paint or climb trees or play My Little Pony for hours, and story time has always been something I have lived for, and they all love reading and being read to).

    To them I have always just been Steffie, no Aunty or Miss or anything to preface it, and I love that, especially now that my older two are becoming more and more like friends whom I never have to parent.

    But I recently received an email from my best friend who lives hours away by plane. She and her daughters had visited this summer, and I had especially bonded with her five-year-old. And what do you know, she wants to visit again so she can “play with Auntie Stephanie”, apparently a name she chose all on her own!

    For the first time ever, I am an Auntie, and Cate, I am tickled pink! And sparkly. 😉

  2. I need to learn to write about hte things that make me happy and noy only the things that cause me hurt. Thanks for the unintended lesson! And you aren’t alone…R and I LOVE to give oresents that the parents don;t understand…as long as the gifts aren’t loud because we don;t want payback in the future!

  3. Pingback: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren|Grandparents Rights

  4. Writing about happy things is good for me. That’s why I do it. Sometimes it helps to stop, think, breathe and know why I’m happy. My nieces and nephews are certainly one reason for that happy. As for presents, I like that you and R do that. 🙂 Actually I’m not worried about the payback anymore but I also draw the line at noisy gifts. I still want the adults to love me a little after I’ve gone.

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