*In honor of Mother’s Day, Parentology is sharing stories from people who have women that hold a special place in their lives. Someone other than their mother. Someone they cherish and hold dear. Other Mothers. Today’s story is from
Naomie Mhina as told to Paul Kamoko.
Meeting Aunt Macy
I was 10 years old when I met “Aunt Macy.” Our family was attending a housewarming party where all of us kids were eating candy and cakes and running around like crazy from all of the sugar. At one point, I almost tripped a guest I didn’t know. This formidable woman came to be known to me as Aunt Macy.
This stern-looking stranger read me the riot act. I was one of the older kids, I should be setting a good example. She wanted to know whom my mother was, and I was reluctant to point her out. Yes, I would be in double trouble.
I apologized genuinely, assuring Aunt Macy my behavior wouldn’t happen again. “Uh-huh,” she replied in a way that made me realize I was still in the red. She asked me to get all the kids and bring them to her.
Not knowing how much trouble I was in made me sick to my stomach stomach. All 12 of us kids made our way over to Aunt Macy – subdued.
Aunt Macy sat us down. Without referring to the incident, she said it was story time. Soon we were engrossed in her tales. Aunt Macy’s stories were the highlight of the party.
A Grown-Up Friendship
Nine years later, I bumped into Aunt Macy again. When I re-introduced myself and as she recalled our first meeting, her stern expression broke into a smile. We found ourselves hitting it off.
I ended up working in the same volunteer organization as Aunt Macy that year. She became my mentor. My co-workers wondered why the woman they referred to as Margaret Thatcher (she was of British descent) had taken a shine to me.
I always thought of Aunt Macy as a cat. Sometimes her claws would come out and scratch someone, but most of the time her paws were safe. I came to realize her stern exterior was her way of protecting her heart. Aunt Macy had lost her husband a few years back, and her daughter had died in a plane crash.
When that job ended, Aunt Macy and I kept in touch. She’d become one of my primary female role models. We talked about everything a growing woman faces: romance, love, men, girlfriends, careers, marriage, you name it.
One day, I told Aunt Macy about a handsome boy who I thought made the sun rise. Her response: the boy was trouble, he’d end up hurting me. Angrily, I walked out, and saying if my mother thought he was okay, who was she to say otherwise?
For six months, I didn’t speak to Aunt Macy. Being the wise woman she was, she never wrote or called, just waited for me to come back. Six months later, I relented and visited Aunt Macy. My heart sunk to learn she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. From then on out, I spent every weekend with her until she got well.
Sharing Aunt Macy
Needless to say, she was right about the boy I’d had a crush on. From then onwards, I vowed never to date anyone without first getting Aunt Macy’s seal of approval. The one time I did, she approved him. He’s now my husband. And luckily, our kids grew up having a third grandma – Aunt Macy.
Aunt Macy was in my life for 15 years. She made a deep impression, shaping and molding me into the woman I am today. I’m so blessed to have had this remarkable woman in my life. My truly special Other Mother.