Friday, January 23, 2009

Uncle and Aunts

Many years ago, when my parents still lived on the farm in Taber, I made the mistake of telling a niece and nephew that I was their only uncle. I was quickly corrected.

You see, there are several kinds of uncles. There is your mother's brother, your mother's sisters' husbands, your father's brothers, and your father's sisters' husbands. Oh, and then honorary "uncles" as well. To me, these are all different kinds of relationships that happen to share the same title: "uncle."

Let me put it this way: I am your mother's only brother. How's that?


If your mother is in this picture, then I am your mother's only brother. And therefore, I am the only uncle of that kind that you have.

Now let's turn to the issue of aunts. Your father provides you with aunts of two kinds: his sisters, and his brothers' wives. Your mother (who, we've established, is in the picture above) provides you with five aunts: her two sisters and the three women that I have had the privilege of marrying.

Some of you know Auntie Marie, whom I married in 1972. Unfortunately, we were divorced in 1979 (and please let me take all of the blame for that: I was young and foolish). She is happily married and has one son, who is now about the age that I was then (young, but not nearly so foolish).

I almost did a "Friday flashback" last Friday, which was 28 years, to the day, from the Friday when I was married to your Aunt Judy, whom you all know well. She has three lovely daughters from her first marriage, and we had a daughter and a son together. (Again let me take all the blame for that ending as well: I was older and foolisher.) She is now happily married and has six step-children ("kinds of cousins" is not part of the subject of this post, although you can see how that might go...).

For the last four years, I have been wondrously happy married to your Aunt Sara. She has six children. I hope that you will have many opportunities to get to know and love her (and them), as the years go by.

So there you have it. Of the aunts and uncles on your mother's side, I have provided fully half of them: one uncle and three aunts. Your mother's two sisters each provide one aunt and one uncle.

I think I've done my share. This post dedicated to all of my wonderful nieces and nephews.

5 comments:

Myrna said...

One of my favorite parts of learning Hindi was the specificity of family relationship words. If you want to see a really long list, go to Wikipedia and look up Hindi family relations.

Here for your viewing pleasure is the aunts/uncles list:
Aunts and Uncles
Father's older brother -- ताऊ (taauu) or ताया (taayaa)
Father's older brother's wife -- ताई (tai)
Father's younger brother -- चाचा (chacha)
Father's younger brother's wife -- चाची (chachiji)
Father's sister -- बुआ (buuaa) or फूफी (phuuphii)
Father's sister's husband फूफा (phuuphaa)
Mother's brother -- मामा (maamaa) or मामू (maamuu)
Mother's brother's wife -- मामी (maamii) or मुमानी (mumaanii)
Mother's sister -- मौसी (mausii) or ख़ाला (khaalaa)
Mother's sister's husband -- मौसा (mausaa) or ख़ालू (khaaluu)

Abra said...

Thank you Uncle Bruce! That was very entertaining!
I'm glad you've brought us so many Aunties!

Nancy said...

I'm glad for all our aunties, too. I love them all! And you, of course, too.

Michelle and Andy said...

I hear you have a layover in Chicago soon... we'll have to see how the weather, Matthew, Andy's schedule, etc... it takes about 3 hours for us to get there IF traffic is flowing. If we don't make it, know that we wish we could because it would be so fun to see you and Aunt Sara.

David said...

Wow! Quite intriguing thoughts. :) Fun picture too. ;-)