This memory isn’t from too long ago, but it is really memorable and it is connected to a memory from a long time ago…. I have shifted back and forth on whether to do this chronologically or based on the title. I think I’m going with the calendar. You’ll find out why I’d be called a PANK in a bit.
I was 15 the summer my sister had my niece. My sister Cheryl had been sick a lot while pregnant so my niece Georgia took her time getting here. That meant I was out of pocket when my niece arrived.
In fact, I was counseling at Northside Christian Camp, a camp that gave children in the inner-city a chance to experience the outdoors and create a great sense of community.
So I wasn’t anywhere near a phone, but my brother was also there. I remember being down at the lake, can’t remember whether it was for swimming or what, but I remember running up the hill to the dining hall to hear whether it was a girl or a boy. In the years since, I have had several of those moments of excitement and I cherish them all.
My nieces and nephews are dear souls. I proudly spoil them…. You’ve heard how I take a trip with each of them as they turn 16. Well, two years ago, Georgia said she loved having me as a PANK. I wasn’t sure what it was but she sent an article to explain. I didn’t start as a PANK, but a decent amount of my disposable income and time was available! And I certainly gained that status and I think I may have excelled since!
Aunts are not new. But aunthood as a marketing opportunity is a fairly recent development — and a shrewd one, I realized when I found myself considering buying a Gaultier onesie for my soon-to-be-born niece. She does not yet even crawl among us, and here I am spending a weekend’s worth of bar tabs on ridiculous designer clothing for an infant. Of the many reasons I am excited to greet the arrival of my niece (teaching her about Star Wars, teaching her how to swear effectively), the opportunity to buy lots of adorable, frivolous baby-size things is high on the list. The public relations firm Weber and Shandwick would call me a PANK: a Professional Aunt, No Kids. The firm finds that the average PANK is 36 years old, has never been married, enjoys domestic activities, and has an income of $50,000 or more. And 76 percent of PANKS spend $500 a year on the children in their lives — not their own, keep in mind — which adds up to about $9 billion in annually in PANK purchases. Given that level of discretionary income and discretionary emotional attachment, companies like Toys “R” Us, Fisher-Price, and Mattel have been tweaking their marketing schemes to include the demographic. In fact, the International Business Times calls “PANK travel” — aunts vacationing with nieces and nephews — one of its top travel trends for 2014, and reports that it is poised to become a billion-dollar industry. via I’m Not a Spinster Aunt, I’m a PANK – The Cut.
PANK Christmas spending…. PANK travel… that sounds like a series of posts right there so get ready for future entries in the month of memories as some will be PANK travel focused (of course you know about my travels in Japan with my nephew). I think I may share other travel stories in the coming weeks.
Do you have an aunt, uncle or nieces/nephews you travel with?