Family, Humor, Life

Some of our Favorite Members Aren’t Family To Begin With

As I get older, I find that some of our favorite family members are individuals who aren’t even related to begin with. I mean, we have relatives we love, but my children have called some of my friends “auntie” and “uncle” for years, yet none of those people have blood running through their veins that matches the DNA in my children’s.

Baby Wearing Pink Crew Neck Cap Sleeve Shirt Between 2 Person Standing during Daytime
Courtesy/ Pexels

When I was a child growing up in central Ohio, my brother and I had a small-town pediatrician who lived a few of towns away. Over the years, my mother and his wife had become friends. The idea of me becoming friends with the wife of my children’s pediatrician’s is strange to me now. However, small town life in the 1980s is very different from suburban life in 2020.

Enter “Aunt Chris.”

I don’t recall when Aunt Chris became a member of our family since it was entirely normal for her to be called Aunt Chris, and to be honest, I don’t recall a time when she wasn’t called Aunt Chris.

Aunt Chris was eccentric and edgy long before it was fashionable. She enjoyed doing unusual things. She had a big laugh and an even bigger personality.

I can still hear her voice, how she looked like Geena Davis, and how she didn’t seem to match the stereotype of a doctor’s wife.

Because her husband was also eccentric himself, their yard was filled with tall grasses, much to the chagrin of their neighbors. They kept bee houses in their suburban backyard, much to the chagrin of their neighbors.

Aunt Chris made her own outfits, dressed unconventionally, and had a wonderful smile.

Co-founder Chris Angerman passes | Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail
Aunt Chris (on the right) Courtesy/Ashtabula County Barn Quilt Trail

My grandmother’s dearest friend, “Grandma” Lucy, was our surrogate grandmother since the day we were born. I can remember her soft sugar cookies, her small apartment kitchen after she moved out of her farmhouse, and her sweet little voice.

Vintage Screen Door Monogram recycled into home decor. So Pretty | Vintage screen doors, Door monogram, Screen door

When Lucy lived on her farm, there was this piece of farm equipment that sat near the driveway. Every time I saw it with its odd shape, I knew we were at her house. I remember a cursive metal H on her storm door, the fragrance of cookies baking in her oven, and everything else as clearly as if it were yesterday afternoon.

All of those things combined make me feel safe, and if I could just spend another day in her tiny kitchen, oh man.

In 2006, I returned to Ohio for a wedding with my mother and Anna. We drove past Grandma Lucy’s farmhouse, and as we sat in the gravel driveway marveling at it, my mother and I sobbed, longing for the past.

You can go home again, but it’s just not the same.

My Grandma Lucy was such an important part of my childhood and of who I am today, and yet, she has never been mentioned on this blog until now.

My friend Rebecca has been in both of my children’s lives since they were born. I think of the memories that my girls have with their “Auntie” Rebecca, the smells of her home, the egg rolls that Anna requests she make, the fact that Ella says her home makes her feel safe, and it reminds me of my Grandma Lucy.

Ella even assumed Rebecca was her aunt until a few years ago, and when I was younger, it also surprised me to learn that Grandma Lucy wasn’t my actual grandma. Why we tell our children the truths about these things is the real question. I told my friend Kristen one day this past summer that her children are like family to me, that sometimes friends are family too. The family we choose, our “soul family.”

Men and Women Standing Infront of Dining Table
Courtesy/ Pexels

Aunt Chris died of cancer in March 2017, and Grandma Lucy died in 1993.

Family accepts you for who you are rather than who they think you should be. Your soul family is the family that takes you in and protects your soul and makes sure you are okay in bad times. These people have watched over me and my family, ensuring that our souls were good. They are proof that family doesn’t have to be blood.

Do you have “soul family” in your life?

23 thoughts on “Some of our Favorite Members Aren’t Family To Begin With”

  1. Growing up I had many “aunts” who weren’t exactly blood relatives. So yes, I’ve experienced this too. As an adult, the people who I’ve met aren’t all that familial, but that could change I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think for us, at least, it was because we didn’t have a particularly large family. That could be a big part of it. People with very large families don’t necessarily need any extra family HA! But it also wasn’t like we were replacing family either. These people just added to our lives, in the best way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry that you didn’t have this but maybe your family members were just that great that you didn’t need any “aunts” and “uncles”; “grandma’s” and “grandpas”? I should say that we have a lovely family that IS blood too but our soul family just filled a void, if that makes any sense?


  2. I love the syrup/pancake quote. So funny.

    As a kid, I was always envious of the kids who had aunts and uncles who were not legit-blood-related. Isn’t that weird? I just thought it was cool. I think my parents were too traditional, by-the-book to refer to even close friends in that way. I had a handful of actual aunts and uncles, not as many as you would think considering my Irish heritage.

    Coach and I have close friends that our kids call Aunt Kay and Uncle Jay. Aunt Kay was my babysitter when I was too small to remember. I Irish danced at their wedding when I was in 7th grade. The highlight of my pre-teen life. When we asked Uncle Jay to be Reggie’s godfather, they said they felt they should no longer be Mr. and Mrs. to our kids. All other godparents that we chose are blood relatives, and Uncle Jay is the rock star of the bunch. Kay and Jay are the most amazing couple, very religious but not in a pushy, we’re-better-than you way. They don’t judge, they listen, and they are fun too. Aunt Kay was Mini’s confirmation sponsor too.

    Years ago, I gravitated towards my family but over time I have seen ‘the light’ and I now feel closer and more comfortable with some of Coach’s siblings than my own. Interesting how time changes perspective and growth impacts relationships.

    Love this post and so happy that you had those awesome extra relatives in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved that quote too!

      I was always so envious of large families as a child until I was older and got married and saw how much work it was to coordinate things such as holidays especially once you got married! Then I wasn’t as envious. 😂

      I do love my small family and I love my soul family too. And you’re right about how your perspective changes with age. ❤️


  3. I love the syrup/pancake analogy. You’re so lucky to have the extended family that you have/had.
    I don’t have those people in my life from when I was a kid, but my kids DO. We have so many very close friends that have been with us before marriage and they’re just as invested in my girls as I am. And, I feel the same way about their children; I have so much pride in them too, it’s a wonderful thing.
    Our very besties Kelly and Don, the girls call them Aunt Kelly and Uncle Don. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that too. Sadly, I’m not close to Aunt Chris’ family any more but we are still close to my friend Rebecca’s family. In fact, Rebecca’s husband’s family in Michigan are like family to us! I get a kick out of that. So cool. Soul family for generations.

      I love that you and your girls have that as well! ❤️


  4. Yes, we definitely have a soul family. And as a child, we called non-related friends Aunt and Uncle. For Man-Child though, as he was mainly raised here in North Carolina, most soul family goes by Miss J. or Mr. D – the only exception being that one friend that was with us in Texas and was there when he was born – she is Aunt C. and is the reason we landed here when we decided to move.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our small church family while I was growing up was my “soul family”, especially my parent’s friends there. They were truly like my aunts and uncles.

    I am “Aunt Melanie” to my ex-best friend’s three children who are now all grown and married; one of them with children herself. I love having an “extra” niece and two nephews. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post, and I love being back in that driveway with you, and smelling those cookies in the oven. I never had folks in my soul family that donned a family title but my mom has always had two very important lady friends, Paula and Sharon. Paula was the baking one, the one who always had brownies in the oven, soft butter on the counter, and the warmest most loving presence. Sharon was the one my mom saw more often since she lived in the same town, she was the girl power my mom never had in her life. They were huge influences in my life along the way, and I consider them family through and through.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I love this. I am so lucky to have a woman in my life who is a second mom to me. She used to me babysitter when I was a kid. Growing up I think my family had more meals at her family table than our own. I have some many good memories of their home (their back porch smelled like MacIntosh apples. Always.) and I still talk to my “mama Kay” every couple of weeks.

    Did you ever hear that the whole phrase is actually “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”. I definitely believe the family we choose is just as important (if not more) than the family to which we are born.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this story! I also know that exact smell. My mom and grandma used to pick apples and make homemade applesauce. That smell lives with me in a lovely way.

      I’ve never heard that quote but I agree with it and I agree with you. ❤️


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