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    Posted April 17, 2014 by
    Concord, New Hampshire
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    In praise of “other mothers”

    More from BrendaOlson



    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Brenda Olson thought of her Aunt Lucy as an "extension" of her mom. She "taught me the same moralistic principals of life that my own mom taught me," Olson said.

    Olson lived across the street from her Aunt Lucy when she was growing up, so her Aunt was always in her life. "My mom and she were extremely close so, therefore, I was close to her," she said. "I consider her my 'other mother' mainly because I could always count on her if I had a problem in my youth."

    Olson says that later in life her Aunt Lucy developed dementia, which caused her to lose most of her short-term memory. "I can honestly say she never forgot who I was or who my mother was," she said. "She remained in our daily life until she passed."
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    When I first learned of the assignment honoring “other mothers”, I  wanted to nominate my mother’s older sister, Lucy. She was instrumental  in my life ever since I was a little girl. I grew up living next door  to my aunt and she was like a second mother to me. She had a small  stature, but she was a powerful and strong-willed woman. She was always  there whenever I needed her and I loved her dearly. My aunt was not  blessed with children, but she treated her nieces and nephews as her  own. I always felt special around her, maybe because I lived next door  and maybe because I was the youngest niece born, but mainly because we  enjoyed many of the same activities.


    I remember  when the bus would drop me off at her house after school when my mom was  working. I would sit at her kitchen counter and look out the window  toward the ocean. My mind would wander and I would imagine pirates  coming ashore to retrieve their buried treasure in her back yard. I  could smell the ocean and see the waves hitting the shore. I loved  living on the ocean and was an avid swimmer at a very young age.  Sometimes my aunt and uncle would take my brother and me on their boat  and we would drop anchor at the sandbar during low tide. We would dive  off the boat when my uncle wasn’t looking and search for sand crabs and  crayfish with our bare hands near the sandbar.


    My  aunt loved to garden so therefore I loved to garden. She taught me how  to prepare the soil and plant the seeds. She grew all sorts of veggies  and I can still envision her in her wide-brimmed hat smiling and  beckoning me to help her harvest the fresh vegetables. She also taught  me about wildlife and how to respect the environment. She had a unique  oneness with nature and wild animals were not afraid of her. Wildlife  sensed they were safe in her presence and I felt safe in her presence.  Deer grazed in her backyard without fear and birds sang to her each  morning for a little grain.


    I remember one day when  I was in the first grade, my aunt picked me up from school. She knew  right away something was bothering me and she wanted to help. When we  drove into her driveway, I told her I didn’t know how to tell time and  the other kids made fun of me. She gave me one of her warm smiles and  replied in her strong powerful voice, “We will take care of that right  now!” She took out some paper and pointed to the clock on the wall in  the kitchen. She diligently explained quarter past, half past and  repeated her explanations until I understood. Maybe it was the way she  explained it or maybe I was simply ready to listen, but it finally made  sense. I knew how to tell time.


    She was  there for me all through school, attended many dance recitals and hosted  my graduation party with my parents. Family meant the world to my Aunt  Lucy and we were all very close. When I got engaged, I made a point to  share some alone time with my aunt. She sat me on her bed and gave me  all sorts of motherly advice. She invited my fiancé and me to a special  dinner and she fell in love with my future husband. She told me she  approved.


    The picture above was taken about eight  years ago in November 2006 during a time when my aunt was visiting from  out-of-state. My husband and son were both performing in the theatrical  performance of “Oliver” and my aunt wanted to see the production. My son  Jonathan is pictured in the upper left, my beautiful mom, Mary, is  pictured in the center, and her sister, my Aunt Lucy, is pictured in the  upper right. My husband, Ron, and I are shown in the bottom row.


    I  was born into a wonderful loving family with supportive parents and  blessed with a loving supportive “second mother”. My aunt passed away  several years ago, but her love for my family and me is still present in  my heart. I miss her constant presence in my life, but I know she is  now at peace.

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