Africans have a concept called “auntie,” an adult woman who cares over you though she may not necessarily be related to you. When I visited the North of Ghana in August, a young woman was helping our group and routinely referred to me as “Auntie Mary.”
I wish I knew a term women might use for other people’s children in their lives.
I am aunt and auntie to Dylan, Cody, Ethan, Graham, Hannah, Sophie, Hattie, Katie, Seth, Chris, Sam P., Julia, Noah, Matt, Sam D. Cole, Ben, Johnny, Alana, Kate, Phoebe, Tyler and more.
No matter that we had not yet met, I danced and played right along with the children the entire time (except when Isla and I took a break). What wonderful spirits they have, filled with joy and curiosity and authenticity.
If you haven’t experienced childish delight recently, seek out other people’s children. Everyone needs an adult in their lives who isn’t their parent (an auntie); and I believe every adult needs children in their lives who aren’t their own children.