There is an aunty in the family who is totally bonkers and full of fun but also kind and compassionate. One of those crazy aunts who let you get away with anything and appears much more fun than your parents. At the same time while you’re having all that fun, she is subtly teaching you values, generosity and trust. This is a dedication to Marion.
Looking back through childhood photographs starting when you are a baby, she is the one smiling the broadest (apart from your Nan) and tickling your toes. Moving on to toddler years and she is there at your side showing you the sea, sharing an ice cream cone, dressed in tinsel hats and halos and making things with you. Through teenage years you went on day trips to historical places, safari parks, theme parks, museums and galleries, beach concerts and shopping sprees.
You remember how one of your favourite things to do with her was riding the top deck of a double decker bus (you didn’t have them where you lived so riding the big tall buses was a treat). Going to the big shopping centres (again unique to where the rest of the family lived and not common where you grew up), and more important than shopping was going up and down the escalators followed by sweet drinks and laughing all the while.
There was of course discipline when you started to test boundaries and get out of line, but she was never mad for long and usually softened within an hour or a day, back to normal tom-foolery and play.
You reach your twenties and that is when your relationship becomes much more special. You talk about life and experiences; there is a confidence between you now. You bond over jewellery making and crafting, she has a wealth of skills to teach you, getting you started on the basics to carry on when you are apart. Gifts are handmade and carry greater sentimental value. Holidays still occur, but you are both older now so instead of running around and rollercoasters, you walk together enjoying each other’s company, still laughing and joking along the way. You realise she is more than ‘that fun, crazy aunt’ and recognise that she considers everyone around her before herself; she is selfless and generous with her time and pension.
She is still the crazy, bonkers and slightly loopy aunt who has undoubtedly rubbed off on you, but now she is also one of your best friends.