I have three nieces and three nephews. They range in age from 15 years old to 4 months, and I adore them all and am adored in return. After all, do I not make baby pancakes for them? How about the nail polish? No one has more colors than I do. And we can’t forget my famous chocolate chip cookies, or the fact that I dole out chips as I put the batter together. All the kids call me Auntie…sometimes Auntie Kristan, or, with one nephew, Auntie Kree.
Once, I went up to my middle niece’s kindergarten. She was Person of the Week, and I surprised her with flowers—she lives three hours away—and it was all quite adorable and thrilling. Her teacher asked her to introduce me. She said, “This is my auntie. Her name is Auntie and she writes books.” Her teacher asked if Auntie had another name, and my little niece gave me this absolutely stupefied look. “Um…Auntie…Keenan?” she suggested, giving McIrish’s last name (I never changed mine). It was quite hilarious. I really don’t think she knew my name was Kristan at that point—you know how it is. “Go give Auntie a kiss,” or “Don’t forget to thank Auntie for your present.”
The nieces and nephews view my profession as very unremarkable, I think. Everyone has a job, after all. Once, however, my then seven-year-old nephew was arguing with his friend about a very compelling and important issue. “Well, I think I should know about tapeworms,” my little sweetheart said hotly. “After all, my aunt’s a famous author.” His friend hung his head in defeat.
Glad to see that book thing is good for something. Not as important as the pancakes, mind you, but it comes in handy once in a while.