My brother is an interesting guy. He’s made up of many parts – smart, funny, sarcastic, caring – all balancing one another out to make up a pretty great person. He, like most adults, can be moody at times too. He gets tired. Or the weight of life just kind of gets him down. Or he has a bad day.
So far, I’ve only noticed one sure thing that never fails to turn things around for him. No matter what – his mood will change instantly upon hanging out with my daughters. His nieces.
Since they first met, my kids have adored him. They’ve squealed with delight at the prospect of him coming over for a visit. They yell his name endlessly as they ask him to ‘watch this!’ and ‘look here!’ while they’re playing. My oldest daughter once stopped, mid-play, at her birthday party to run at top speed into his arms when he arrived.
Uncles and aunts – the really good ones – are a special kind of people.
They show up to everything. They babysit. They teach. And spoil. They watch over them. And take them to movies. They laugh at their jokes. Play with them when their parents are too tired. Read them stories.
And they love them. They absolutely love and adore them.
My brother has taken a vacation day to come to my 3-year old daughters’ open house dance class. He’s dressed up on Halloween in a Cookie Monster costume, just to deliver them treats and see them laugh at his get up. He’s gone to amusement parks and rides all the rides with them. He listens to me talk about them endlessly. He puts a lot of thought into what they would like for the holidays. He researches princess clothing and the latest kids’ movie. He’s never missed a dance recital. Or a birthday party.
And he has fun doing it all. He genuinely, truly loves it.
As a parent, it’s pretty incredible for me to see other people love and adore my children in this intense, familial way. I get to see my kids benefiting from another strong caring, loving relationship. And they’re so new to the world still – they just think this is how it works. That everyone is loved by many people in their lives. That everyone has an aunt or an uncle who would do anything for them. In fact, they’re incredibly lucky to have him.
Every child should have someone who will always make time for them. Who will always be interested in them. Someone who will guide them and teach them and laugh along with them during every stage in life.
Every child should have that extra-special aunt or uncle.