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The Woman From Auntie

, , , , , | Related | December 29, 2019

(I am holding my new nephew and talking to my sister — not the baby’s mother.)

Me: *cuddling baby* “Isn’t it nice to finally be an auntie?”

Sister: “I’ve been an auntie for five years.”

Me: “Who?”

Sister: “Your kids!”

Me: “Oh, yeah, I forgot you were their auntie.”

Auntie Is Aiming Low

, , , , | Related | December 27, 2019

(I am the same person who submitted this story. I wake up one day and see that I have a text from my aunt. It is a link to an online sale on bras, and is accompanied by a message:)

Aunt: “I have often wanted to tell you that you needed a better bra but was afraid of embarrassing or offending you.”

Me: “I’m confused right now. How do you know I need a better one? I’ve never complained about it or anything. Where is this coming from?”

Aunt: “Just by looking at you. Boobs should not be down at your waist; they should be above your elbows. And [Grandma] mentions it to me every time she sees you and I am there. I am sorry if I embarrassed you.”

(First, I think to myself, “Wait. Now my grandma thinks I look weird, too?!” Second, I look down at myself. Even with just my loose-fitting pajamas on, I’m pretty sure “the girls” aren’t sitting as low as my waist.)

Me: “I’m pretty sure that’s just the way they are. They’re big, so they hang down. The bras I wear right now actually look pretty similar to the ones in the link, and they are the only ones I’ve found that don’t cut into my shoulders or have my breasts threaten to pop out if I bend too much.”

Aunt: “Okay, I was just trying to be a helpful auntie. I’ll tell [Grandma] that I talked to you the next time she brings it up again.”

(After a bit more back and forth, including me letting her know that this whole conversation had actually made me more self-conscious about my looks, she did give a better apology. I accepted it, and I thought the matter was put to rest. I did end up ordering from the link she sent me because the product was at a very good price. I made sure to wear the new ones whenever I saw her, hoping that would keep the issue from being brought up again. A few months later, she sent me another link. Once again, it was about bras. This time, I just sent her an “unimpressed/side-eye” emoji. She never responded or brought the topic up again. I brought this text conversation up with my mother at one point, which prompted her to share a story. Apparently, during my late teen years, a woman approached her at church and expressed concern over my self-confidence since I “covered up” so much. Note that my typical style, both then and now, is jeans and a slightly baggy T-shirt. Honestly, why is everyone else so much more invested in how I present my chest than I am?)

The Gift Of The Religious Aunt

, , , , , | Related | December 24, 2019

(This story happens when I am five, visiting relatives. It’s important to note that, in Italy, there are three traditional Christmas holiday figures: “Daddy Christmas” — Santa Claus — Baby Jesus, and La Befana. In my household, it’s Daddy Christmas that delivers the presents.)

Aunt: “By the way, [My Name], have you written your letter to Baby Jesus yet? What have you asked Him?”

Me: “No, I’ve written a letter to Santa; why write to Baby Jesus?”

Aunt: “What do you mean, ‘Why write to Baby Jesus’? He’s the one who gives gifts.”

Me: *confused* “I mean, yes, He has given me the sky and the birds and Mommy and Daddy, but Daddy Christmas gives me toys and candy.”

Aunt: *puts a hand on my shoulder* “Yes, but He loves giving toys; if you don’t ask Him for toys and ask somebody else, He’s gonna cry and get mad and then tell the Befana, who then will kidnap you!”

Me: “B-but…”

(I then started to cry, loudly. When I told my mother a few hours after, she tried to reconcile the two things, telling me that Baby Jesus just made the gifts, while La Befana and Daddy Christmas delivered them, which worked. However, every year until I no longer believed in them, my aunt would tell me to write a letter to Baby Jesus and give it to her. This was a bit of a mixed blessing, given that it taught me to try to avoid her, since her behaviour extended to other aspects of life as well, and to this day she cannot accept the idea of evolving family traditions.)

This story is part of the Visiting Relatives roundup!

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Laughing At The Joke Is Like Getting In The Van: Never Gonna Happen

, , , , , , | Related | December 18, 2019

(My family is on a skiing trip with my cousins and a few other relatives. My oldest cousin is at least twenty, but my aunt is a little… protective. We’ve stopped for lunch in a big dining hall-type place and it’s around Christmas time, so some people are getting pretty festive. My oldest cousin comes back to our table with a handful of candy and everybody is either excited about it or has a lot of questions:)

Youngest Kids: *already eating the candy*

Aunt: “Where did you get that?”

Oldest Cousin: “Well, some strange man was handing out candy, so I took some.”

Aunt: “What do you mean a ‘strange man’?”

Oldest Cousin: “Mom, I’m kidding. Some guy was handing out Christmas candy to kids, so I asked for some.”

Aunt: “And he just… gave it to you?”

Oldest Cousin: “Well, he also asked me to come out back and get in his van, but I said no… I know I’m not supposed to go anywhere with strangers!”

Aunt: *horrified* “[Oldest Cousin]! Don’t say that!”

Oldest Cousin: *rolls eyes* “Mom, everyone here knows I’m kidding. [Youngest Cousin] is the youngest, and he’s twelve! Nobody’s getting in some guy’s van.”

Aunt: *still horrified*

Adults: *trying to hold in laughter*

Kids: *shamelessly laughing hysterically*

There Will Be More Than Just A Dead Name At This Rate

, , , , , , | Related | December 17, 2019

(My husband and I have the same, gender-neutral, first name; however, mine is spelled in a more feminine way. His family is EXTREMELY traditional Southern while my husband and I are more progressive. We decided early on that we would not take each other’s last names as it would be too confusing, and if we have any children, their last name will be hyphenated. This story occurs while I am six months pregnant with our first child, visiting his extended family in Mississippi. His aunt is asking us about names for the baby and we tell her a few of our ideas.)

Aunt: “Hmm… [First Name] [Husband’s Last Name] sounds really good! I like that a lot!”

Husband: “Actually, it would be [My Last Name]-[His Last Name].”

Aunt: “Well, why would it be like that? That seems silly to have her dead name on the baby!”

Me: “Um, my dead name? You realize I didn’t change my last name, right? Also, I’m putting in over half of the work on this kid; there is no reason why he shouldn’t have my last name. And it is extremely rude to call my maiden name my ‘dead name.’”

Mother-In-Law: “YOU DIDN’T CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?! DO YOU NOT LOVE YOUR HUSBAND? When we get back, I’ll find the paperwork to get your name changed.”

Me: “No, I didn’t, and yes, I clearly love him. However, logistically, it did not make sense for me to change my name. And no, you don’t need to do that, because I am not changing my name.”

Aunt: “Regardless of your ‘feelings,’ it is disrespectful to his family if you choose to completely disregard our name! It is the one thing we have keeping us together!”

Me: “If your name is the ‘only thing you have keeping you together,’ that is your problem, not mine. Besides, this is our decision, and it does not mean that we love each other any less.”

Aunt: “Well, fine. But I’ll have you know that kids with hyphenated last names grow up to be drug dealers and in jail! You should be arrested for child abuse for putting your child at risk like that!”

Husband: “Aaaand now we are leaving. Until you can get past whatever this is, you will not be seeing our child.”

(Three years later, the aunt has still never met our child and still refuses to speak to me or my husband. She sends my mother-in-law links on how to change a baby’s name about once a month.)