It Stands for...

She's going to kill me for this...she hates pictures with a passion!

Looking out the window on my way back from a quick and impromptu trip to Jersey, I found myself watching the open road and contemplating the realms of unconditional love. I did this all the way from Exit 8A on the NJ Turnpike back to northeast corner of DC, and although I asked myself many questions in between that time, I never came to any sort of conclusion, but only an understanding illustrated by one simple gesture.
Right before we passed Exit 8A, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything that morning. Just thinking about having to endure this bumpy four-hour ride full of overly talkative travelers back to the District without so much as a stick of gum or a drop of water was dreadful. In rushing to make my bus, I had forgotten to grab something to take on the bus with me, a casualty that makes any long ride longer. Yet, just when I thought I was going to have to sleep off the creeping hunger pangs, I reached in the bottom of my purse, and felt a small plastic bag. After pulling it out, I immediately started laughing.

It was a loose sandwich bag of half-cut Twizzlers.

A day before, both my mom and I were at my Auntie C’s house, joking about how she always sends everybody in our family off with little baggies of snacks, treats, and anything else she has to give when she meets up with any of us. Ask any of my family members and they will tell you that Cassandra will send you home with healthy snacks, Johnson & Johnson products, leftovers, vitamin C, and cute shoes if you fit them. And although we were all laughing about it, right before I was about to leave, I couldn’t even front.

“NaĆ©, you want some Twizzlers to take on the road with you?”


That’s the thing about my Auntie C. She’s my mom’s younger sister, but she is also my second mom. If anyone ever asked me who my parents were, I’d tell them: Tracey, Eric, and, of course, my Auntie C. And of course, once again, she saves the day.

My initial laughter after finding the Twizzlers (which is her favorite low calorie candy) in my purse was quickly followed by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, followed by an even more overwhelming feeling of appreciation and love for my aunt. I couldn’t help but start to think about how much she’s impacted my life. The first ballet lessons she bought me when I was three that turned into a lifetime love of dance. The slumber parties she threw for me and my girls when I was a kid. The ice cream birthday cakes she got me. The weekends she let me spend at her house. All the Disney movies on ice we went to. All the dance recitals she came to. The photo albums and scrapbooks she made me. The times she came down to school to help me pack and move. The times I heard her cheer me on when I was onstage. The years she let me live with her from middle school to college. The drop-offs to my first summer job at Macy’s. The times she let me drive home when I got my permit. The resumes she helped me polish. The cards she sent me while I was away at school. The money she put in my account when I had none. The many beauty products she always sent me home with. The baggies she put in my purse before I left. The graduations. The proms. The shows. She was always there. Always.

All the way home, I contemplated this thing called unconditional love. My aunt has been there from the beginning and never was too tired, too busy, too focused, or too far. How can someone love that expansively? Only a few days before I made the trip home to Jersey, I had felt so alone in the things that plague a young adult trying to gain some footing in this world. I was in my apartment, sitting on my floor, asking myself “The 20-Something Questions”. What am I doing with my life? Will I ever be successful? What direction is the right one? Can I make it? Am I strong enough? Who’s going to love someone like this? And I wrapped myself around the idea that: No one is going to love someone like me.

Yet, on my ride home, eating my half-cut Twizzlers and watching the open road from NJ to DC, I thought about all the unconditional love I have in my life. Just the fact that I have two great parents, and an Auntie C, there’s no way I could ever think that no one could love me. I was made from love. Raised in love. Given extra love. Some people don’t have that. Some people don’t have an Auntie C. The people in my life have stuck with me through thick and thin and everything in between. I had come home on a whim, with only a quick visit with my mom and aunt, and they raised me back up without even knowing it. That’s the love that creeps up with no explanation. And my aunt, with her caregiving nature and her genuine thoughtfulness, had just packed me something she thought I would need for my journey home.

But in that baggie, she packed a smile, some laughter, great memories, and her love.

She is one of the strongest women I know and a pillar to our family. She’s our golden girl, beautiful inside and out with her long flowing locs and open arms to all. For that and all that she does…and all who she is…I appreciate her more than I can sit here and try to artfully describe. I don’t have any sort of conclusion on the realms of why we love the people in our lives, but only an understanding illustrated by one simple gesture. I love my Auntie C. And it’s unconditional.

Happy Mother’s Day!

About the Writer
TranaƩ is a freelance writer residing in Washington, D.C. and connoisseur of all things fresh! She also happens to be my little sister, which in itself makes her fresh! Check out her dope moves via Twitter @naesonFBaby

PS. I always thought I called her Auntie C for “Aunt Cassandra,” but it seems back in the day she wanted to be called Aunt T.C. for Aunt Too Cute! She’s the flyy one… (All of them are flyy!)  #farmerfamilyfact

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