by Hattie Lindstrom
I have always wanted to be an aunt, but with a sister two years younger than me and without marriage prospects, the odds are not in my favor. I won’t be getting a niece or nephew any time soon.
I was always jealous when my friends would have cute little nieces and nephews following them all over. They would look at my friends and want to do everything the same as their aunt. My friends would get to braid their hair and give them candy.
I always wanted one of those little guys. But what could I do…?
Then I came to India. I got my wish. Now dozens of children yell, “Auntie, auntie!”
I get to play with them all day. I get to brush their hair. I get to hug them and toss them in the air. They hold my hand on walks and they give me kisses when I cry.
Some of those who call me aunty don’t even know any other English words. Some have lice. Some may even have diseases the rest of the world would be scared of.
But I am their aunt, all the same. And their smiles and sweet laughter are really the best an aunt could ask for, dirt smudges and all.