Monday, October 6, 2008

Aunt Eliza

My sister turns to me during a quiet moment in the movie. “I want to be just like Aunt Eliza when I grow up!”

I smile mischievously at her. “So, you want to be a spinster aunt who never marries and lives with her nephew and his family?”

She narrows her eyes at me and pokes me in the ribs. “You know what I mean!”

And as I watch the end of the episode of the television show “Road to Avonlea,” I do know what she means.

I find myself wanting the same.

In one of the middle seasons, the King family finds their great-aunt Eliza suddenly thrust upon them and their home. She moves in without asking permission and, to their horror, intends to stay indefinitely. Their horror is slightly appropriate, for while they try their best to respect her, she is rather crotchety and demanding. She usurps young Felix’s bed and wakes him up at all hours of the night, requesting hot water bottles and cups of tea. She pokes her nose into Janet’s business and makes personal remarks about her and Alex’s marriage.

In short, nobody really likes her.

Why do I want to be like her when I ‘grow up’ again?

Nobody likes her.

And yet…

By the end of the seventh season, Aunt Eliza is a member of the family. She is loved by all. She is someone people turn to when in a fix. She doles out no-nonsense advice with love, advice that is tried and true. She loves her family and would protect them from any and all heartache.

I want to be that Aunt Eliza.

- She learns from mistakes and changes, and because of this she is able to share advice for nearly every situation. I want to always be able to see and learn from mistakes and change my ways, even when I am old and set in my ways.

- She loves her family and in spite of her age, manages to be not a hindrance to them all, but a blessing. Nobody in their family wants her to leave, or would ever dream of putting her in an ‘old folks’ home.’ I want that to be me someday, spinster or married. I want to be a blessing to my family, in my old age.

- Aunt Eliza encourages others to make the right choices. She listens – she actually listens and tries to understand her nephews and nieces. From there she doles out her advice, but encouragingly. And with that, she earns their respect and love.

- Because yes, Aunt Eliza is loved by her family. Everyone respects and loves her. In season seven, on her birthday, Janet and her sister throw a surprise party for Aunt Eliza. One of my favorite scenes is now a snapshot in my memory. Felix, now sixteen and a young man, offers his arm to her. “You look like a woman who would like to dance, Aunt Eliza.”

And she is and she does.

That is a woman I want to be, someday, when I ‘grow up,’ even if I never marry. A woman who is loved and respected by her family because her character is worthy of that respect and love.

The groundwork is laid now, however. If I dole out more sharp words than kind now, will it be easy for me to tend towards kindness? If I am unwilling to admit to mistakes, unwilling to be the first to say, “forgive me,” it will be so much the harder for me to when I am old. Learning to love early, learning to admit to mistakes early and learning to forgive early – that is what will help me be an Aunt Eliza someday.

Because I really do think Aunt Eliza is awesome. I want to be just like her when I grow up.


sara October 6, 2008 at 10:55 AM  

Awww...yeah! I just finished reading the Story Girl, so it tickles me to recognize some of the characters you mention!

Krista October 6, 2008 at 11:30 AM  

The television show is a very loose adaption of the books (The Story Girl and the Golden Road). If you ever want to try the series, it is a fabulous family show with memorable characters - but don't expect to find the characters of the book. The Story Girl isn't quite the Story Girl of the book; Felicity is more likable; Felix isn't a cousin - they've switched him around to be Felicity's brother, etc... not to mention addition of other totally different characters.

But my family has so enjoyed the series. It was an experience watching the King clan grow up. :-)

Rebecca October 6, 2008 at 6:01 PM  

I want to be like Aunt Eliza when I grow up too :)

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