Not punked -- PANKed. That is: Professional Auntie, No Kids.
I've been referring to myself as the "adopted auntie" of twins Emily and Steven. But I've just discovered that I am an "aunt by choice."
Those of us who have no children of our own but love and nurture the children of others have been validated by Melanie Notkin's book (see above), website, and Facebook page.
Notkin is the author of Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids. I recently heard her interview on NPR and rushed to her website.
Someone had acknowledged me! Not only that, but I now have an official day!
Women become Savvy Aunties through various avenues. Some choose not to have children, others cannot have children for various reasons. I had the old-fashioned notion of getting married before having children -- but never encountered the guy. And back in the day, single women of modest means didn't have a chance at adoption.
Since I had no siblings (basic requirement for nieces and nephews), I never became a "legitimate" auntie.
So I became the "auntie by choice" to the children of friends and coworkers, and the young equestrians with whom I shared a passion for horses.
It is nice to at last receive some recognition in addition to the affection and friendship of my "adopted" nieces and nephews.