Auntie Jill

Now we're getting to the heart of the matter—the mothers in my life who mothered me. This is my Auntie Jill.

To fully understand my relationship with her you'll need a little background.

My mother has two sisters. Individually they are three strong beautiful women.

Together

they become a force of nature.

The way these women compliment each other is perfection. Where one is weak, another is strong. Where one is off center, another has focus. Where one is silly the other is serious.

When I needed mothering that fell outside the the lines of my own mother's comfort zone, it was always one of my aunts who I went to.

I still do.

My Auntie Jill has a list of professional achievements, academic degrees and philanthropic successes that could fill a book. Her generosity is legendary and her drive is intense. That she raised two amazing children is never out of the picture, but to me, her life is a lesson in how to bring a complete person to your motherhood. I assume she'll argue the point and tell me stories of the early days of her mothering when she felt isolated and at a loss but, the way I see her- the way she looks to me- is well rounded and whole.

Others might remark on her tremendous passion and her exacting standards and infinite interests. But it's not in the fund raising or the academia or the endless social engagements that the auntie who most matters to me exists. For me, she is the woman who sits on the floor with a baby and laughs a gigantic belly laugh while playing a terribly silly game. She is the auntie who takes off her designer shoes to walk in the sand with my kids. She is my auntie who always always returns my calls no matter what country she is in. She is the woman who is all about capitalizing on your strengths and poking fun at your weaknesses. She is my auntie who likes to tell people that when I was a baby she pretended that I was hers. It's this woman that I want to share today.

In response this project, many have remarked on the great number of exceptional women that I know. And while that's completely true, I think it's important to note that only a small fraction of them touch my life outside of occasional interactions. Among the women I'm sharing with you this month are neighbors, acquaintances and new and old friends alike, but my auntie, well, she had a hand in shaping the woman that I am.