Deep down, beneath my surly, jaded sarcasm, I'm a crunchy, loving hippie at heart, so I'm a really big fan of the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Of course your family (the people who raised you and grew up with you, are an important part of that village) but so are the people you meet and choose to bring into your little tribe. Many of the other moms I meet are similarly thankful for the fact that they are lucky enough to have a BFF that is their kid's best aunt.
Growing up, between my parents' friends and grandparents' friends, I had approximately 794 "aunties" and "uncles," many of whom I am still close to. So it warms my heart — as a mother, friend, and person being hit with a wave of nostalgia — to see my kids bake cookies with "Uncle" Brian, or give a hug to "Auntie" Nikyda. "Auntie" Katy, my BFF since high school, actually moved around the world when I was just a few months pregnant with my first child. In fact, she announced her move on the same night I announced my pregnancy (or, rather, was outed when someone discovered I wasn't toasting). And when I say "around the world," I'm not being my typical, hyperbolic self: she moved from New York City to Sydney-friggin'-Australia sort of on a whim. Still, 10,000 miles has not kept her from being a wonderful auntie to my children. She keeps up with their lives, she sends them delightful, Ozzie themed books, toys, and clothing, and whenever she comes stateside to visit she makes time for them.
My kids have amazing "actual" aunts (and uncles) but I'm so glad my friends have extended their family a little wider, as are the ladies I asked to tell me why their BFF is the best aunt a kid could ask for.
"I'm blessed to have two BFF aunties. The one has known me since I was a pre-teen and is as close as it comes to a sister without sharing parents. She knows me inside and out and will be able to tell my kids stories they will eat up, inspire them the way she inspires me, and always be there with the coolest fashion advice ever (as she is way cooler than me). The other, we became moms together side by side. I don't think I would be half the mother I am without her, and her love for my kids is truly that of family. She knows, without me saying, how I feel in any parental situation, and how I would handle any situation with my kids. Even though we don't parent exactly the same, she could make decisions and speak on my behalf at any moment and it would be as if it came directly from my lips. That is priceless."
"In Hindi, the word for 'mother's sister' is 'Masi' which translates to 'like mother' and both of my best friends truly embody this term for me and my children. One is my cousin, who I've known since birth — she is my older son's godmother and she always fills in spaces that I didn't know or realize were empty. She also sees in my children me as a child, and that is just so amazing. My other best friend is someone I met as I started my journey as a mother. It's incredible to me that someone who is not actually family loves my children more than some related to us by blood. She revels in their achievements and feels their sicknesses and sorrows just as much as I do. She has caught and cleaned vomit from both of my babies, and even used her breast milk to help with my baby's horrific diaper rash. If that's not love of an aunt, I don't know what is."
My best friend had two boys, whereas I have a girl! So my best friend 'Auntie Pam' likes to spoil my daughter and get all the things she knows her boys have zero interest in. Like fake fur coats and fun jewelry.
"I wouldn't be a mother without my best friend. She was our surrogate. She carried and gave birth to our beautiful boys. I can never in a million years thank her for that gift, and every day she gives me new reasons to love her, not least of which the love she has for my sons. We all adore her."
"My best friend is the one who saw every emotion while I processed my pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. She never needed to love my children as hard as she does, but that's part of what makes her so wonderful. As my kids get older, they know that my best friend will always have the best stories about me for them to devour. She will always be the cool aunt."
My BFF is the best aunt because she makes the most effort to see my children (the bar is set low).
"I'm an only child and so is my spouse, so we were sort of sad at the idea that our kid wouldn't have aunts or uncles. But our 'chosen family' has stepped up and they're all really active in our child's life. Really nurturing. Maybe it's because most of us grew up feeling like 'outcasts' and a lot of us don't have great relationships with our blood families that we wanted to create a loving, nonjudgmental family of our own. Also, every child should have at least one auntie who's a drag queen. Just saying..."
"My son always wants to FaceTime my best friend, and she is always up for it, no matter what. Even when she's at work. She has walked around her office with her phone 'introducing' him to people. Her co-workers ask about my son, that's how much she obviously loves him."
My best friend is my mom's best friend's daughter, so we're basically like really close cousins. All our holidays are spent together, she's at all our family gatherings and cookouts, so my daughter knows my best friend just as well as she knows my actual siblings and sees her in the same contexts (more, really, since we hang out on our own, too). [My best friend] has been in my daughter's life from day one.
"As soon as I told my friend I was pregnant, she was determined to be 'the bad influence' aunt, and she has kept to her word, but in an adorable way. She sneaks my kids ice cream and spoils them with toys and lets them listen to loud, probably age inappropriate music. But somehow she does it in a way that respects my parenting and only just sort of nudges the boundaries in a way that I think is good for kids."