The Barren Aunt is someone who, when they send you a book as a present, it’s from a museum. And if they send you a sweater, it’s a cashmere sweater wrapped by the department store. When the Barren Aunt asks you how old you are, they look you in the eye and listen to every word. They inquire about school meaningfully. When you are a teenager, the Barren Aunt is someone you can ask, “That family that I’m from… they’re crazy… right?” And the Barren Aunt says, “Yes. Yes, they are.”
Sweeney, Julia. If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.