Tuesday, March 31, 2009
It's been a long time...I shouldn'ta left you....
Okay, so it hasn't really been a long time...but I missed you all anyway!
I spent a long weekend in Philly for my nephew's 5th birthday celebration. His party on Sunday afternoon was off the hook, and I was completely Chuck E. Cheesed out by the end of the day. That place is a riot, and he had a blast with all his friends. Great, great, great party!
His actual birthday was yesterday. While he was at school, I snuck down to Baltimore to meet with the infamous Dre Lew of blog comment fame so we could meet and so he could do my taxes. He hooked me up in more ways than one. First, he gave me expert advice on my taxes, buying property and simply all things investments/finance. But more importantly, he hooked me up with some catfish! Let me tell you, he put his foot in it! Fried catfish, mac and cheese, green beans and corn bread...all washed down with sweet mango iced tea! He INSISTED I don't be shy and take more (smile), so I made a plate to go (yes...complete with paper plate and foil) and will be having that for lunch today. Oh, and did I mention the Pineapple Upside-down cake for dessert? Heaven. It was great finally meeting you Dre, an absolute pleasure - thanks again!
Getting my taxes done was the only thing that could steal me away from my family for the day. I'd been away from them for a few weeks and my nephew Kyce was jonesing for his Auntie BIG TIME. I tell you, there's nothing like seeing their faces light up when I walk in a room. When they run to me and jump in my arms, I feel like my heart is going to burst. It just doesn't get any better than that.
Being Auntie has given me the opportunity to find a special purpose in my family. Although I'm not married or have children, I always feel as though I'm wanted, needed, and important when I spend time with my sister's sons. Thanks to them, I feel stretched in ways that I never imagined - but in a good way. I've stretched my idea of unconditional love to an understanding I didn't necessarily have as it related to a child before they were born - a feeling I didn't have to bear my own children to experience. I couldn't love them more than if I had birthed them myself.
Of course I realize there is no bond like the special one a parent has with a child. But I too have a unique relationship with each of my nephews. Kyce and I talk about any and everything. Ibrahim makes me laugh til my sides hurt. Kyce loves it when he cracks a joke that gets a reaction, and Ibrahim and I will dance to anything. They talk to me on the phone and they share their snacks with me. Kyce sneaks out of his top bunk to crawl into bed with me, while Ibrahim gives me big kisses that make loud smacking noises. I am the person they call when they want a special toy, to be rewarded when they accomplish something or when they want share something new that they've learned. I'm the one they want to go to the playground with, or who they find when they want to wrestle. I am Auntie, and I can do no wrong in their eyes.
Through them, I am able to experience motherhood - without the morning sickness and labor. I've fed them, bathed them, clothed them, changed diapers and cared for them when they were sick. I saw them take their first steps. I've gone to school functions and mediated over little disputes. I've disciplined them, taught them, encouraged them and loved them.
Last night before I left, I went upstairs to give Kyce a kiss goodnight. He had already fallen asleep and I was so sad that I missed him, but also glad that he wasn't awake to give me those puppy dog eyes he gives me when he doesn't want me to leave. I gave his cool little cheek a big kiss and was overcome with a love so deep - I didn't want to leave. In moments like those, I understand what it means to love someone so much that you'd lay down your life for him. I'd do it for either of them. Through my nephews and all the children in my life, moments like that give me a whole new understanding of why Jesus gave his life for all of His children. What a blessing, and my life is richer than it's ever been.