About Us

Contact Us



Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Playing Aunts and Uncles

Just Call me 'Mame'
Michael Sean Morris on the joys of being an 'Aunt'

Recently, one of my better exes announced that he and his wife were having a baby. I was thrilled to hear it, naturally, as I am every time I hear there’s a one-in-ten chance another homo’s on his or her way. Quite apart from that, I know from experience that they will be good, solid, open-minded parents, and the world could always use more of those, couldn’t it?

I know my friends will be especially open-minded because, being a member of this child’s extended family since before the moment of its conception, one of the first discussions we had was about what the child would call me. The discussion was mercifully short, as we simultaneously settled on the only reasonable choice: Auntie Misha. Like me, it’s both unique and a modernist gender-fuck, which nevertheless pays tribute to the only parenting course I’ve ever taken, namely repeated viewings of the film Auntie Mame (1958).

As good and solid and yes, even as open-minded, as my friends will be, they still insist on living in the suburbs, that bastion of intolerance from which few adolescent psyches escape unscathed. My friends both admitted that the child deserved some exposure to downtown, a position I have gratefully accepted. The raising of a child is an honour any adult should embrace, should the situation present itself, and it’s an honour I have always taken very much to heart.

For a time I was that one special relative to my stepbrother’s kids. In those halcyon days of a decade ago I was Uncle Mike, the one who had the coolest books, the best toys, and a capacity to listen with patience and understanding that most parents are just too busy to manage. When my ex-stepsister-in-law (can you see how tenuously I clung to those children?) removed them from my life last year I felt a part of me die, and in a sense a part of me did, for now no one else is ever allowed to call me Uncle Mike again.

It’s pain I know only too well, as during the same time I was also a stepfather, and when my ex (one of my worst exes) took his two little girls out of my life it was, if anything, more painful than losing a nephew and niece — it was like losing my own children. My sincerest hope is that all of these children find their way back to me in time, an act of defiance on their part that I’d like to think I had some part in fomenting.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a certain fear that my friends might do the same thing to me with the child on the way. Living as I do on a knife-edge of approval at the best of times, I know only too well the transitory (not to mention conditional) nature of even the deepest of friendships in this day and age. Opinionated, smutty, and brash, I may not strike most people as an appropriate adult influence; indeed, I may strike nothing but fear in the hearts of parents who consider themselves otherwise tolerant. But in the end its love that makes an Auntie, the kind of love that was born on the day two cells became four and four became eight in my ex-boyfriend’s wife’s uterus, and the same kind of love I still have in abundance today.

On or about October 6th, 2003, my friends lost the beloved baby we’d taken to calling Spot, and so it is to Spot that this piece is lovingly dedicated. We will meet again.

© Michael Sean Morris Ocotber 2003

Rain In Vancouver
On being a Travel Writer

More Lifestyles


© Hackwriters 2000-2003 all rights reserved