A tribute to my Aunt JoAnne

My Aunt JoAnne and Uncle Tom were talking about this post last week. My uncle asked my aunt if she was jealous and she said, “No, mine’s coming!” Well sure enough, just as I promised, here it is!

I was always close with my Aunt JoAnne. Long before my mom passed away, I referred to her as my “second mother”. It made sense that we were close because according to my mom, I was just like she was at my age!

Some of you know that I was named after my Aunt Dale who passed away long before I was born. Whenever I got in trouble as a kid, my mom would yell, “JOANNE!” and then we would both laugh, and my mom would joke that she named me after the wrong sister. It was  great because half the time I ended up escaping punishment because we’d be laughing so hard and my mom would start to tell stories about my aunt (ones that she, of course, denied)!

I remember my Aunt JoAnne taking me to Wanamaker’s for my birthday when I was a kid. She bought me a denim skirt (I’m guessing it was the 80’s) and a necklace. We walked through City Hall, and she pointed out the exact center of Philadelphia. I remember how  awesome it felt that my aunt took me out just the two of us. With three kids of her own, it didn’t happen often.

After I moved in with my aunt and uncle, our relationship changed quite a bit. She had to take on a parental role and not just the fun aunt role. It was difficult for me, as I am sure it was difficult for her. We had our fights, and some of them were quite nasty. But there was never a doubt about the love between us. On the nights that I would find  myself in uncontrollable fits of tears because I read something that reminded me of my mom, I would knock on her door – no matter  what time it was.

For years after my mom died, I would still buy birthday presents for her. I’d give those presents to my Aunt JoAnne.

My aunt is Nuni to my daughter (just like with Nuno, I was wrong about the origin – I know I read it somewhere when I was pregnant, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where! It doesn’t matter though, it’s grandmom for us)! My daughter adores her Nuni. Every time we pass anywhere near her house she exclaims, “Are we going to Nuni’s?!”

I call myself a motherless daughter. I’ve debated the term with my boyfriend who thinks that it’s not accurate because I do HAVE a mother; she’s just not with me right now. I understand his point of view, but I FEEL motherless. When watching other people with their moms or even hearing other people talk about their moms, I feel motherless.

After I gave my notice at Rite Aid, I was talking to one of the pharmacists. My aunt shopped there often and knew just about everyone who worked there. I told the pharmacist about my notice and how I was leaving to follow my dreams, whatever direction that took me. He told me that my aunt was in the other day and she was talking about me. I said, “Oh?” He told me how she told him how smart I was, what a hard worker I was, and how proud she was of me. I barely kept myself from crying right there. This is only one example of the many times my aunt has given me a moment where I did not feel motherless. I felt like a child whose parent was bragging about her.

It’s not that my Aunt JoAnne could ever take the place of my mom. She knows that she can’t, and she’s never once tried. But she fills that role without trying, without question . . . Just like with my Uncle Tom, I am one of hers. She remains that “second mother” to me, or when  I’m feeling long-winded, the best aunt/God-mother/surrogate mommy EVER!

And here’s an inside joke, just for you Aunt JoAnne! ❤ you!

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ginny Layton on June 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I have an aunt for whom I am named. . .and whom I loved dearly and who spoils my children and whose behavior I imitate so often that my mother says I must be my aunt’s daughter! Fun to hear about your aunt Joanne!

    Reply

  2. “For years after my mom died, I would still buy birthday presents for her. I’d give those presents to my Aunt JoAnne.” That almost made me cry. This is a beautiful tribute, Dayle!

    Reply

  3. […] Most Beautiful Post — I chose two blogs for this one, though they relate to each other. They’re beautiful to me because of the sentiment they express – the love I have for my family. “A tribute to my Uncle Tom” and “A tribute to my Aunt JoAnne” […]

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anne Katherine on September 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Wow. I am so happy for you that you had such a great aunt…and you are such a wonderful person to honor her in this way. What a special relationship!

    Reply

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