These are the days I’ve been waiting for – all of my nieces and nephews (save for one, but he’ll catch up) have finally reached an acceptable level of maturation. No longer are they pre-ambulatory lumps of flesh spewing tears and poo. Now they can finally communicate using a broader vocabulary than an African Grey. This is where the fun begins.
I have fond memories of my interactions with my aunts and uncles from when I was a child. First they were playmates, then they were mentors. They offered honest insights I couldn’t get from my parents or teachers. Now, as an adult, I continue to cherish my relationships with my parents’ siblings.
I recognize that it’s the grown-up’s responsibility to cultivate a bond with a child, and not the other way around. If I want to be close to my blood ties, I need to make the effort. The upside is, I want to.
I love it when, greeting my nieces, they talk over themselves in their rush to tell me every detail of what’s been happening in their little lives, and then grab my hand to lead me to whatever treasures are hidden in their playroom. I enjoy encouraging Brian to be gentle with the lizards he catches, and praising Liam for his progress on the piano and his advanced reading level. I’m delighted when Bella confides in me, and I’m more than happy to candidly answer every question any of them ask me.
From the sidelines, I observe my sisters’ triumphs and tribulations as they struggle to be the best parents they can be. Meanwhile, now that the children are officially little people, I will work to fill the role my aunts and uncles filled for me.
You can see Liam's recent piano recital (short clip) right here: