Dana is my mom's older sister, and my mom deeply loved and admired her. Here they are, arms around each others' shoulders, at a 50s skating party. ;)
Yesterday, I wrote about how much I've always looked up to my older sister, and I know the same was true for my mom with Dana. In fact, Dana was the last person my mom asked for on the day she passed away. My mom thought of Dana as a "mother figure" after my Grandma Barbara's passing, and she leaned on her for support, advice, and love.
In the almost ten years since my mom's death, Dana has become a "mother figure" to us girls as well. She has gone out of her way to support and love us in everything we do. She drove to Utah each year that I ran the Moab Half Marathon and cheered me on at the finish line; she went and helped Sarah for a week after she had Callum and was struggling with postpartum depression; and she traveled to see Laura perform as a chorus girl in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at BYU. She still calls and emails frequently--never long messages, just quick little check-ins to see how we are and to let us know that she is thinking of us.
She also supports our husbands, constantly asking about their school and work and genuinely wanting to know how they are doing. I honestly think she considers them her nephews, just as we are her nieces. Ryan has often remarked how good this makes him feel. Both of my mom's sisters have always made sure Ryan feels totally included and loved within our extended family.
Aunt Dana also loves our children. She sends them gifts and always wants to know how they are and what milestones they are reaching. It was so fun to go and visit her and Uncle Mark in Boise this fall and to watch them interact with Noah.
While I was in Boise, Dana and I had long talks about the ups and downs of motherhood, and I just love hearing her advice. She is so real and down-to-earth, and essentially tells me that I don't have to be perfect and to just hang in there through the tough days. She is someone I can be 100% honest and comfortable with.
I feel so blessed to have Aunt Dana in my life.