THE BLOG
08/31/2015 11:33 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Aunts

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"These are the girls who will be at my wedding, I thought...
These are the friends who will bring me flowers
at the birth of my first child,
and they will be known as
aunts."
-- Shannon Viola

Shannon was a first year college student, studying Classics and winning awards for her writing when she penned that vision in a blogpost.

Shannon is thoughtful, introspective, inquisitive.

She is a writer after all.

How sweet are her words as she is just beginning to dip her toe into the rest of her life, her adult life.

They are sweet because they are genuine and sincere. They are heartfelt.

And they perfectly describe what so many of us women are blessed with... each other.

I am millions of years out of college... but still good friends with my Danish roommate from freshman year in a small Maine town. We bonded in a way that has lasted through the test of time. We got each other. We remind each other of a wonderful, naïve, promising time in our lives. This is why thinking of each other always brings a smile.

Shannon is envisioning what is to come for her.

I envision the wonderful life I've already built... surrounded by the aunts, my closest girlfriends who have enriched this life of mine. Now we've experienced both highs and lows. We've become parents and lost parents.

We've worked steadfastly at jobs and played raucously with each other in our off time -- at the lake, the pool, the farm, the beach, the backyard, the driveway. At dinner parties, weddings, barbecues, and cocktail parties.

We've connected honestly, deeply, supportively. There are no false pretenses. There is no competition.

We girls have each others' backs.

They were indeed the girls at my wedding.

They did bring me flowers at the birth of my first (and second) child and something more -- their love, their advice, their smiles, their ears to listen, hot meals and hand-me-downs.

We have cried together.

Our stories brilliantly color the tapestry that has been our lives -- our youth, our pranks, our foibles, our chatter, our aging, our cooking, our dressing up, our working out.

We genuinely celebrate each other's successes and roll up our sleeves when helping with, no not failures, just curves that every life inevitably throws at us.

My sons have been blessed with these aunts... most of all, because they have supported and loved their mother so she could, in turn, give all she had to them.

Photo: Chebeague Island Inn, Maine
... a bike I will one day own... with a basket