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  • Writer's pictureDiana Scalia

World-Class Auntie

Updated: May 14

My mom’s sisters were always my favorite aunties, especially Aunt Sally, for whom my niece is named. Mama’s best friends felt like aunties, like other moms to me. They were really fun, good listeners, and lovingly present.  


I believe that children need and deserve to have extra people around who love them deeply. Maybe that’s my story (and I’m sticking to it ;) because I feel that I’m destined to be that kind of presence for the children in my life.


Around age 30 was when I first had the privilege of stepping into what would become my World-Class Auntie shoes.

My best friends were having babies, so the only travelling I did was to visit them and meet their tiny ones. I didn’t mind.  


Tina’s children Analiese and Vincent were born in Minnesota. Analiese and I made paper dolls one long afternoon at the kitchen table, Vince slept in his infant seat, and Tina got some very-much-needed time to herself.  Analiese is now mommy to two daughters of her own.


Next came little Courtney, the daughter of my dear friend Karen. Courtney is now mommy to little Jonathan. One Sunday afternoon Courtney and I blew bubbles from her treehouse, when she was about 5. Sheer bliss.


My sister Suz’s children are Sally and Harry (foto right), whom I once called Angel and Cherub. They grew up very close by, so Suz only needed to call and say, Auntie Di??  I would say, I’ll be there in 7 minutes!  I was truly, madly, deeply in love with these babies and admittedly I spoiled them ... with time and undivided attention. Two of Sally’s first words were Auntie Di.


One December, Suz and Lisa wanted to Christmas-power-shop and asked me to host 3-year-old Harry at 8am, my place, for a couple of hours. At 5:30pm they called, and Harry told his mom he was OK! He left at 8pm. During the day, we made Christmas cookies and he told me something that still makes me cry.

I know why you call me Cherub, he promised.

You do? Tell me.

It’s the one word that means all the ways you love me.


I told him he was absolutely right. He and his girlfriend stayed with me in Paris, December 2022 (foto of him and me, left). He’s still Cherub to me.


My brother John had three daughters when he was quite young. Today they are gorgeous, truly remarkable women (foto below), with sons of their own. They live a distance away and I don’t see them often enough, yet I am over-the-moon-delighted whenever we are in touch and do get to be together.


The blessing of another fine young man in my life is my soul-sister Elizabeth’s son, Ultan - 16, very tall, very handsome, and very smart. Just hearing his sweet voice over the phone, reminds me that he was just 8 when we first met and I was adopted as his Auntie Diana. They are in New York, way too far away.

The son of one cherished Food Tour merchant, is Armando who at age 9, became our official junior intern. I called him Sombra (shadow; foto left) because we spent lots of time together besides hosting tours, and we always had way too much fun. Today he is 18, one of the finest young men on the planet, and is still so dear to me.

All of that stellar Auntie experience brings me to the exquisite joy of being godmama to 5-year-old Renata (cool cat in lead foto), now living in France. Our stories are here and here. I truly believe that she and I are both very old souls, and that we planned this. My life took a lot of twists and turns (stories for a book someday) before she finally landed in my arms when she was one month old. I swear, her tiny bright eyes saw me and said, there you are, finally!  Our hearts have been inseparable ever since.

In my experience, being a great auntie is all about kairos – a Greek term that kind of means timelessness. It has nothing to do with the world's time. It's just about showing up and staying present, which for me equals pure soul food.


Renata’s daddy was very respectful of my time and once said, you don’t have to sit on the floor the whole time and play with her. 

I adored him for his thoughtfulness and, disagreed on so many levels.

I simply replied Oh yes I do.


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