While I was in Saskatoon on the weekend, I paid a couple of visits to my Aunt Viola, my mother’s older sister who will be turning 100 in December. Viola lives in a nursing home. She never married and didn’t have any children of her own so I take care of her affairs and look after things for her.
I am so fortunate that Elizabeth a second cousin of mine who lives in Saskatoon visits Aunt Vi regularly and keeps me up to date on how she is doing. Since Viola is nearly deaf and has trouble seeing, Elizabeth has devised a communication system of writing messages to Viola in large capital letters with a black felt marker.
If my aunt looks at these carefully she can read them and responds. There is nothing wrong with her voice and she was eager to talk on my visits. You can really have a very meaningful conversation with her since her mind is still alert.
During our visit, Aunt Vi asked about my children and grandchildren and I wrote her messages to tell her about what they were doing. Then she said, “People often ask me if I am ever sorry I didn’t have children. But I DID have children.”
Aunt Vi then proceeded to talk about all the children who had been in her elementary school classes during her nearly forty years as a teacher, the children she had worked with as a volunteer in Washington D.C. neighbourhoods, the children in the many choirs for kids that she had conducted, and the many, many children she had taught in the Sunday School and summer Bible school programs at her church.
And of course her nieces and nephews. She always took such an interest in us all and remembered us with Christmas gifts, took lots of photos of us, made us afghans and needlework pictures and sent us cards. She hosted us in her home on SO many occasions.
I realized Aunt Vi was right! She had indeed had lots of children. Her comment was a good reminder to me that we need to appreciate all the people who may not have children of their own, but who make such an important contribution to the lives of all of our children.