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The shape of a family

Families come in all sizes and shapes. Each one has their own habits, traditions, and ways of having fun.  For instance, my brothers, sister and I, along with our spouses and children, meet at our parents’ house most Saturday nights for dinner and to play games.  Some nights it’s a completely full house and other nights we are missing a few.  No matter what there’s always a sense of family and belonging. 

My husband and I are set up a little differently. We do not have children so our house is missing the cacophonous noise that larger families can have.  That certainly does not mean we are in any way a grumpy old couple that yells at the neighborhood kids for playing in their driveway. 

We have just as much love in our hearts that any human being has. The love we have for our nieces and nephews is felt with a fierceness that is hard to contain.  We may not have physically given birth to these kids, but our hearts feel each and every boo-boo, struggle, accomplishment, and joy we have the opportunity to share.  We miss them desperately when they are not around and rejoice in our good fortune when they are near. 

My Dad had eight brothers and sisters, and my Mom had four. We have always called them Aunt (insert name) or Uncle (name).  When I became an Aunt, my brothers and sister had their children call me Aunt Monica.  It is a wonderful thing being an aunt.  I hope and pray that I am as special to my nieces and nephews as my aunts and uncles are to me. 

As we start Advent, the readings for this last weekend affected me as an Aunt. The first reading from Jerimiah talked about The Lord “raising a just shoot” to do what is right and therefore Judah will be safe and secure.  As an Aunt, I hope I can provide a safe and secure place for my nieces and nephews. 

The second reading from First Thessalonians began with the line “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all...” The first time I laid eyes on my nieces and nephews, they did just this.  My love increased and my heart overflowed. 

There is a little book of advent reflections that I am reading. It gave the general reflection from these weekend readings to be one of surrendering whatever needs or wants you have to God.  We should give them to Him and wait patiently for His answer.  This is something I have always done.  I have given my children to God.  He chose not to give them to me on earth, but has answered this need and want with four of the most beautiful nieces and three of the most amazing nephews an Aunt could ever want. 

I am truly blessed, as are each and every one of you. We all have our own place in our family dynamic and we all fulfill whatever roles we have been given.  I wish you the best in your role and encourage you to give your shortcomings, needs, successes, whatever you are experiencing, to God and wait patiently for His answer.

He will always answer.


  • Deacon Francis HessPosted on 5/14/19

    You have a wonderful extended family. Your parents Rod and Mary are terrific people. When your mom worked with me she was a bright and shining star in the business and your father is always a great guy to work with. I feel blessed to have contact with several of your family members including yourself.



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