Mother’s Day Appreciation: Aunt May Family is what we make of it. The relationships we form are not defined by our lineage or the families we are born into. There are people in our lives who will be more like a brother to us than our actual brother. We can encounter mentors, coaches and bosses who nurture us more than any uncle or godfather ever did. And there are times when the woman who raises us, might not have been the one who birthed us. For Peter Parker, there is no one who will care for and adore him more so than his beloved Aunt May. Aunt May was tasked with a difficult job, raise a child whose parents abandoned him. (His parents were being chased by villains who were out to kill them, but May didn’t know this). With Ben at her side, the two raised him in a loving and nurturing environment. Peter was socially awkward, incapable of making friends and a science nerd. Though she didn’t always understand the science, May was by his to support him and keep him company. Then, Ben was taken away from her by a random mugging. Instead of focusing on the guilt of losing the man she loved, May’s attention was on ensuring that Peter stayed a good boy and grew into an amazing man. Peter Parker moves out to assert his independence, but is continually coming back to Aunt May’s loving home. Whenever the Parker-luck strikes, he returns to someone who will help him no matter what. Despite his Spider-Man escapades (which May, typically doesn’t know about), Peter is an aimless individual. He jumps from photographer, to scientist, to teacher, to photographer to business owner to everything in-between. He is incapable of holding a job, but through it all May offers him advice, money, comfort and a fresh baked meal. Even as Peter becomes more successful, he turns to Aunt May to kickstart Parker Industries. What sets May apart from other mother figures, is her willingness to help out and accept anyone. In the Ultimate Universe, when Captain Stacy died, Gwen, a rebellious youth, was immediately admitted into the Parker home. She continues to be an adoptive daughter, despite Peter’s death. After Iceman and Human Torch had nowhere else to turn as a result of Ultimatum, they joined Gwen and Peter in the Parker Pad. Raising one super powered teenager can be tough; raising three becomes a superpower in its own right. May humanizes Peter and grounds his more adventurous life. She is a constant reminder of why he is helping people and embodies all that Spidey finds good in the world. In Amazing Spider-Man 33, Peter is trapped underwater, buried in rubble and about to perish. The only thought that keeps him going is the fact that May needs him. It is a monumental moment in his career and is still referenced today. Even when she isn’t present, May is inspiring Spidey. Peter even goes so far as to make a deal with the devil to trade his marriage to MJ for May’s life. She is the most important facet of his life. She couldn’t have children of her own, but May was able to have a son the day Peter arrived on her doorstep. Through it all she has been a constant support and example of who he needs to be when he grows up. Aunt May is always willing to support Peter, despite his shenanigans or absent minded demeanor, because a mother’s love is unconditional. And May know that with great power, come great responsibility; because there is nothing more powerful than raising a frightened little boy and watching him become a spectacular (spider) man. Level Up, Friends!