One of the most influential women in my life next to my mother is my Aunt Paige.

Paige is what I call my “fairy godmother.” She came into my life at a time when I deeply needed another woman who gave me understanding and spoiled me like an auntie would. I was six years old when she married my uncle Farshad. I clearly remember meeting my hip and cool American aunt who was only 22 years old. She was so pretty and fun loving. I thought she was the coolest person in the world! To me, she still is one of the coolest women I know.

I have a vivid memory of the day we were in a mall bathroom together and I asked her if she was my uncle’s roommate! That’s a pretty nosey seven-year-old child insinuating that she was pretty close to my uncle. We both laugh about that time.

Growing up, my mom raised me with old school values. She was aligned with the old, traditional Iranian model of raising children. This meant no shaving my legs until freaking eighth grade, not plucking my eyebrows until 17, and no dating until 18 years old. Also, my curfew was literally 9 PM in my junior and senior year! This obviously set it up for major rebellion as a teenager. I couldn’t understand my mother’s insanity with these ridiculous cultural holds she had. It made zero sense to me as an American Persian girl growing up. So, I rebelled and did everything I wanted to do behind her back. Sorry, Mom.

Also Read: My Mother’s Story

My Aunt Paige’s Story.

When my aunt Paige would speak to my mom, she would somehow be able to explain things in a sweet way where my mom would meet me half-way. Paige’s American upbringing was the buffer and key to my freedom. Thank God for her! It opened my mother’s understanding of raising a daughter in a whole new world and culture.

If I were to explain Paige in a few words I would say that she is one of the sweetest and understanding women I know. She got me. All of me. She held loving space for my strong sensitivity, depth, love for healing and relationship drama in my teenage and college years. She understood how important it was to listen to me when I needed a friend and person to turn towards. She spoke to me about sex, birth control and boys. These are things that every girl should be able to share with another woman. I feel that every girl should have an auntie they can trust.

I feel that Paige was pivotal in teaching me about the importance of confidence and self-esteem. Up until my early teenage years, I had very little self-esteem. I didn’t believe in myself. That changed when Paige showed me that I was special and a girl and woman that is worthy of being loved. That is a huge deal in a woman’s life!

Paige’s story began when she was adopted as a baby by her mother Patsy and father Robert. She was raised with a lot of love and lived barely above the poverty line. Her family was hard working and poor. They faced hardships together but her bond with her parents was incredibly strong. Her mother was kind and loving.

Paige was taught to be independent at a very young age. She started working at the age of 16 and put herself through college by working. Everything she did was because she earned it herself. Her parents took pride in showing her how to make her own break. At 23, she met my uncle Farshad and started working for a small computer company.

Read More: My Grandma’s Story

In a few years, she learned the intricacies of the computer industry and was able to start her own thriving business with her husband, as President of Global Marketing. Their business lasted a long run of 25 years.

At the crossroads of their business ending, there was a lot of uncomfortable change and major pressure to make it happen for her family. Paige has always been the creative marketing queen. She executes projects and is a finisher. Once again, she had to figure out a way to provide for her family and started learning a whole new system of trading and navigating an entirely new industry.

Her two kids have now grown teenagers and there were major strife and friction in her marriage. I remember watching my aunt Paige go through that entire painful process and still hold it together. She NEVER once gave up on her kids, her marriage, or finding a way to provide for her family.

Paige, Soraya, & I

Paige is one of the BEST loving mothers that I have ever seen. She spends quality time with her son and daughter. The private talks with her kids and the great listening skills she embodies were a big example for me in raising my own children. I will always remember the long night talks we have and how much they mean to me.

For me, Paige taught me how to be a confident and strong woman. That strength did not mean yelling, rather be sweet and loving with my kids. That love speaks VOLUMES over being a harsh and fearful parent. Those kids remember the feeling of love for the rest of their lives. Because of Paige, I learned how to be a good listener and teach myself and my kids that they are SPECIAL.

She also taught me to always think outside of the box and flow creatively in life. To keep trying new ways to make your life better. Most importantly, enjoying each day by laughing and spending time with family and friends. I am so glad that I have Auntie Paige in my life! I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her great impact on me.