Meet the Aunties: Julie, Jeannie, + Nadine

My mom, Nadine, is part of a trio. She has two siblings, Julie and Jeannie, and they do everything together, they always have. They functioned as a group, pitching in, picking up, and raising the seven (SEVEN!) children they had between them. I’ve never known a clear more beautiful picture of sisterhood and I carry it with me as I mother alongside dear friends in my own community.

Motherhood really is a team sport and growing up, I was blessed to witness teamwork at its best. My mom, Nadine, is part of a trio. She has two siblings, Julie and Jeannie, and they do everything together, they always have. They functioned as a group, pitching in, picking up, and raising the seven (SEVEN!) children they had between them. I’ve never known a clear more beautiful picture of sisterhood and I carry it with me as I mother alongside dear friends in my own community.

These days, the “Aunties” are still doing everything together. I was lucky enough to sit down with them and talk family, embracing the grandma/great auntie years, and watching the children they raised become parents themselves.

Meet Auntie Julie …

the youngest of the sisters. She has four boys with whom I grew up nearly side-by-side (mostly outdoors) in Grover Beach, California.

What is your role in the “The Aunties”?

I am Grandma “Kari” (my nickname) to eleven wonderful and amazing grandkids: Zoe, Ella, Owen, Devin, Braxton, Emmaline, IvaLee, Ovella, Woodrow, Clementine and Baby Coco. They are my LIFE!!!

What is the biggest difference between being a mom and being a grandma/ great-auntie?

Being a grandma, you can love unconditionally without having the added sense of responsibility to mold and create the perfect, outstanding, model child. Instead you can relax, love them, and accept them just as they are with the primary emphasis on teaching kindness and patience.

How has your relationship changed with your kids since becoming a grandma/great auntie?

I have always been blessed to have mutual love and respect from my boys and that hasn’t changed at all. They know there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them or their families. I give all that I have to give, but now, there are eleven more kids to love. Honestly, the littles are now my #1 priority, my sons are on their own! Hahaha!

What is your favorite part of being a grandma/great-auntie?

Having all my littles know that I am here for them, to love, to support, to be their biggest cheerleader, and to accept and appreciate them just the way they are!

Meet Auntie Jeannie …

eldest of the trio and mom to Melanie, who I consider my sister. They live in the Bay area back then and even though it wasn’t terribly far from us, it always felt too far from me. We spent a ton of time together but it never, ever felt like enough, it still doesn’t.

What is your role in the “The Aunties”?

Since I don’t have any grand babies (yet), my sisters have kindly offered to share theirs with me. I love them all, because, as their Auntie Jeannie, they are all MINE!!! I love that social media allows me to watch them as they grow, no matter how far away they are.  And when I am around, I love to capture those precious moments and faces with my own camera and share them with grandmas, mamas and aunties.

What is the biggest difference between being a mom and being a grandma/ great-auntie?

Being a great-auntie is all fun and requires little stress or responsibility. As a mother, it was all love and worry, trying to keep Melanie happy, strong, educated, responsibly aware, and protected from the dangers life can present.

How has your relationship changed with your kids since becoming a grandma/great auntie?

Although I am not yet a grandma, the biggest change with my daughter has been in the realization of, and appreciation for, what being her mother has meant to her. How wonderful it is now, to be given respect and asked for advice, to be shown how just how much I’m loved and appreciated.

What is your favorite part of being a grandma/great-auntie?

I have to confess that my greats are all the CUTEST IN THE WORLD, and it is so fun to watch them grow, as I watched their parents grow, into amazing adults. I am so very grateful to be a part of their lives.

Meet My Wonderful Mom, Nadine …

expert-level crafter, life of the party, best friend to everyone she meets. She made every day of childhood for my brother, Daniel, and me, an adventure waiting to be unfolded.

What is your role in the “The Aunties”?

I try to be an auntie who is always there, because I truly feel that extended family, Aunties and Uncles, create security for nephews and nieces and little great-nephews and great-nieces and that’s what I want to do. I relish my role as “Auntie.” I am absolutely tickled when Ovella Mae throws a fit if she can’t come over for her personal visit with Nana (that’s me!) I LOVE that the little ones want me at their birthday celebrations, that Zoe and Devin always come to me for a special hug because they know that I know how difficult their busy life is between two homes, and I’m absolutely tickled that Owen now looks directly into my eyes and gives a full body hug because he “knows” we’re family.

What is your favorite part of being “Gramma”?

My favorite part about being Gramma to Miller, Shep, Owen and Delaney is that the job of raising them is not in my hands, I am eternally grateful that they have incredible parents to do that job. I don’t have the “mom” worries of guiding them into adulthood, and I don’t have to agonize about being too lenient or too mean or too hysterical. And I LOVE spoiling them.

How has your relationship changed with your kids since becoming a grandma/great auntie?

Our roles have changed completely! My kids and nieces and nephews are the ones in the trenches raising and nurturing their babies, they are the ones with the great, magnificent and scary job of protecting and guiding them. My hope is that I can be a supporter and a friend. I relish my relationship with Jenny and Dan as equals…as friends.

What is the biggest difference between being a mom and being a grandma?

Jenny, I wish I knew then what I know now. When I was a mom, your mom, I was young and without having too much in the way of mothering myself, I was on the learn-as-you-go plan. Dad and I were broke, trying to build our business, and really torn between spending every moment cherishing you and Dan, watching as you slept and as you grew, and scurrying around trying to get a car that ran and health insurance and rent and eventually college tuition. I was a nervous, stressed mama. I worried too much and wasted too much time on things that were not important. I have learned that our time is precious. I have learned to be kinder, more accepting, and to drop everything when I can be with Miller, Sheppy, Owen and Delaney.

On Mother’s Day, I celebrate all of these amazing women. Each of them has played an incredibly important role in making me the woman and mother I am today and it is such a joy to have them by my side as I raise my own children.

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, my Aunties and to yours!

XO Jenny

Founder | Designer | Wine Expert | Problem Solver at January Moon | Wife to Mike | Mom to Shep and Delaney at Home

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