I always thought my sister would be a great aunt. She is super fun, loves kids, and has endless energy for adventures. 

But it has been such a joy to see that not only is she a loving adult in the lives of my kids; she’s becoming something so much more: a safe space, a confidant, a partner in ice creams and kindergarten confessions and anytime FaceTime calls.  

She’s a trusted friend to my kids, and she’s psychological safety to me. 

Related: Thank you for being an ‘aunt’ to my son—I couldn’t do it without you

My sister, my kids’ aunt, is a backup plan for emergency babysitting on date nights, and security for big scary “what if something happened to me?” questions. 

Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert said, “I think one of the reasons why aunties are so important is because every child needs a responsible, loving, caring, adoring adult who is not a parent where they can go to visit and be safe and be loved and be cared for.”

For Gilbert, being an aunt has allowed her to connect deeply and lovingly with children, without having a child herself. Aunts play a critical role in our families, and they don’t get enough praise for all they do.

Related: I struggle with being a mom with no family around

The world needs more aunts: loving women who wrap kids and their parents in a network of trusted support. Aunts are the village that we know moms need to thrive. They’re a safe place kids can go to develop relationships, unwind and grow. 

Aunts are too-often the invisible but essential support system around families, and I can’t thank mine enough for the comfort they bring me.

Aunts are confidants

I know that if my kids have a worry or concern that they can’t bring to me, they have a no-judgment place to go. Thank you for accepting my kids exactly as they are. The way you love without expectations sets us all free.

Aunts are adventurers

I’ll admit it, I can be kind of a killjoy. My kids’ aunt, however, is up for anything. Aunts swoop in for the fun stuff, the road trips, the vacations to Disney. They light our lives up with joy. Thank you for helping us moms go outside our comfort zones for out-of-the-ordinary adventure. 

Aunts are indulgent 

We don’t see Aunt M everyday, so that’s why when she offers to buy my kids soda and candy and popcorn before watching "Frozen 2", I say “go for it!” Thank you for being so generous to my kids when we’re together. I (and my wallet) thank you. 

Related: Inflation hitting your wallet? 19 smart money tips for families

Aunts are psychological safety for mom 

I don’t worry about my kids when they’re with my sister. And I sleep better at night knowing that if something happened to me, they would land in the loving arms of an aunt who cares for them more than life. Thank you for being a comfort to me in the deepest way possible.

Aunts are our heritage

For my kids, who live far from our extended family, their close relationship with their aunt connects them to our wider family heritage. From passing on family traditions to teaching our spiritual background, aunts are a connection to our ancestors. Thank you for being a pillar of our family’s living tradition to our kids.

Aunts are a connection to the wider world outside our nuclear family  

The world can be a scary and unfamiliar place. My kids’ aunt helps show them that many loving adults do exist and are there for them for the long haul. My sister was the first person to hold our son, outside of me and my husband. Thank you for lovingly embracing us and showing the whole wide world to my kids. 

Related: Living close to my sister made such a huge difference when I became a mom

To the aunt who loves my kids more than life: I don’t know how I’d be a mother without you. I am so glad I don’t have to.