Posts Tagged: aunts

The Birth of a Superstar

In celebration of Mabel’s birthday, Julie Cole reflects on a birthday post about one of her favourite people – her very special Aunt Joan. Do you celebrate someone special in your family?

50 years ago my Aunt Joan was born. Hers has not been an average life. She arrived prematurely, possibly having an unfortunate run-in with the umbilical cord on the way out. Regardless of the cause, she has had a special place in our family because she did not develop in a typical manner.

From all accounts, it was not easy in those early years. The doctors made grim predictions about Joan’s future based on what they thought her IQ was. Grandma once threw a social worker out of her house for suggesting that Joan should be removed from the family and raised elsewhere.

She was the seventh born in a big Irish family and everyone rallied around their baby Joan, sharing feeding responsibilities and surrounding her with love and support. Joan was a part of that family and although it was a family forever changed, from their enlightened perspective, they were better for it. To this very day she lives with my grandparents who are in their mid-nineties.

Joan is a remarkable person. Embraced by a supportive school and staff, she has spent the last 25 years working as a classroom helper in a centre for children with special needs and who are medically fragile. Joan has a special place at Mabel’s Labels as well. She helps out when brochures need to be stickered, she decorates posters and cards for special events and contributes her famous brownies for staff functions. Most of all, she is our biggest fan. If you’ve ever been on a city bus and had the woman next to you ask if you have Mabel’s Labels, chances are it was Aunt Joan. She hands out her Mabel’s Labels business card to anyone and everyone – a business card which appropriately lists her job title as “Superstar”.

To get the full picture of the positive impact Joan has on those around her, let me tell you how her 50th birthday was celebrated:

- The school board threw a surprise party for her. 50 staff members and retired staff were in attendance to celebrate;
- Our family had a surprise dance party/open house. More people than I could count were in attendance;
- Of those people at the dance party, a ridiculous number of us were wearing t-shirts featuring Joan’s picture and the words ‘Joan is a Superstar’;
- Even the babies in the family got involved. They all wore custom-made shirts that said “Great-Aunt Joan is a Superstar”.

I know when we all have babies we want them to be perfect in every way. However, Joan has taught me that sometimes it’s only when they are not “perfect” that they are able to become Superstars.

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

The PANK Perspective: Kids say the darndest things…

Back in the Spring for one of our family vacations we travelled to Smyrna, DE to visit my Aunt and Uncle. With my boyfriend and I in one car, and my parents, brother, SIL and two nephews in a van, we drove for a good part of a day, maybe not the best trip planning but it worked out okay.

Upon arrival we settled in at the hotel, and grabbed take-out pizza. All of us huddled into my brother’s room to eat. You’d think that after so many hours in the car, we’d want to be as far away from each other as possible, but we didn’t. This is one of the best parts of family vacations. We took advantage of spending this quality time together, and thankfully we all like each other, so it’s never a chore to hang out. Over dinner, we gave my boyfriend the low-down on my Aunt and Uncle; where he once worked, how they are connected to my family and funny stories from the past. When he asked why my Mom’s brother lives in the States and not in Canada, he made a comment about the name of the town – Smyrna. He kept pronouncing it like Smear-na. We corrected him, but he was convinced that we were all saying it wrong. He then went on to say that no matter how you say it, it sounds like a dirty word.

“You’ve got some Smyrna on your shirt.”

“Kiss my Smyrna!”

“I just Smyrna’d, and it smells.”

Yes, this is the man that I love. What can I say; he’s pretty creative and always good for a few laughs. While he listed a few more ways to use the word, my nephew was playing swords and shields with his Papa and not paying much attention to us.

Fast forward to the next evening as we’re all gathered around the dining room table at my Aunt and Uncle’s house telling family stories. There was a brief moment of silence as we finished one story to start another when my nephew took the opportunity to ask me a question.

“Hey, Aunt Dee?”

“Yeah, buddy.”

“You got something up your Smyrna?”

Every single one of us, other than my Aunt and Uncle busted out laughing. We didn’t think he heard us talking about the name of the town, and we surely didn’t think he’d use it in that context. With my relatives looking confused, we explained my bf’s take on the word and they didn’t quite see the humour the same way we did. Crazy Canadians they’d say.

If there’s a dull, awkward or simply a quiet moment, on family vacations or otherwise you can bet a child will take advantage of it uttering one of the many funny things that kids say. We had many stories of our trip to Smyrna when we returned home, but one of our most favourite was what my nephew asked. Kids say the darndest things.

Do your kids say the darndest things? What are some funny kids quotes you’ve heard recently that had you busting at the seams with laughter?

PS – The boyfriend was told the correct pronunciation of the town by my Aunt and Uncle. He still thinks his version is right.

 

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

The PANK Perspective: What should I name my baby?

Joe, Jim and Jack. That’s my dad and his brothers. I’ve asked him why my Grandmother named all 3 of her sons with names starting with “J” and he didn’t really have much of an answer for me except, “those were popular baby names back then.” It seems like it might still be on trend. He told me that when they were little she added “y/ie” to their names. Joey, Jimmy and Jackie. He hated it.

My SIL had considered naming my second nephew with a name starting with the same letter as his older brother, but because her and my bro couldn’t agree, she forfeited and let him choose. He didn’t have it start with the same letter.

A few months ago my boyfriend’s sister had a baby boy. His name was chosen well before he arrived, and it starts with the same letter as the names of his Mom, Dad and sister. She struggled with picking a name for the longest time, should it be a popular baby name or a unique baby name? She liked one, he didn’t. He liked another, she didn’t. Finally they decided, and this new bundle of joy fits perfectly within the ‘family club.’

So, this got me thinking…how do you go about naming your baby? Choosing a name for another human being that they have for a lifetime?

My Mom wanted to call me Laura, one of the popular girl names at the time, but my Dad thought it sounded funny with my last name. I wasn’t named until I was born, and she chose Diane. Not quite sure why, but she jokes it’s because Diane/Diana is “Goddess of the moon” and I was born breech.

Not many parents-to-be back then found out the sex of their baby before it arrived like they do now. So, when my brother arrived prematurely my parents didn’t have a name chosen. The doctors warned my parents to quickly name him because his chances of surviving were slim. They named him after my Dad, and obviously the little fighter lived and I grew up in a household with two people with the same name. Very confusing once my brother’s friends entered puberty and called for him. “Sr. or Jr.?” I would have to ask each time. Argh.

So, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that my name is Diane, and my brother’s is Jack. Yes, just like the song; Jack and Diane. This wasn’t on purpose, however the song was released two months prior to my arrival, so perhaps Mom listened to it many times and in her exhaustion after 16 hours of labour she subconsciously chose my name.

I’ve fantasized about what I would name my would-be child. For a boy, I like a few, some of which are included in the top baby names such as; Kevin, Joshua, Randall, Benjamin and Elijah. If I do get pregnant and have a girl, I’ll need to resort to the trusted baby name book to assist me with girl names. However, right now, I really like the name Bridget. But then I played the “Banana-Rama” song with it and realized that it rhymes with a name that I wouldn’t wish upon her. I’m only 5’3” so if she inherited my short stature she’d be picked on. Kids are mean. This is the kind of stuff I sometimes think about. Whacked.

So, how did you come up with the name for your child(ren)? Are you a fan of popular baby names or uncommon baby names? Did you name your child after someone as my brother was? Did you want them to have the same initials as their sibling? Or, did you had the name chosen well before you met your bundle of joy?

About the Author:

Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

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