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I’m not sure what kind of relationships you are talking about between aunts and nephews but I cherish my relationship with my nephew and have always had a very special place for him in my heart and home.
I have four nieces — all of who are extraordinary for one reason or another. They also have incredibly special places in my heart and some have routinely had space in my home — all are always welcome. But I only got one nephew and he has been a bit of a different relationship than the girls.
It started really early. I was living just a few hours away and my nephew was a kid who liked to be out and about. Even as a toddler, I would take him on errands and in return we would have an adventure — maybe eat at a really unique restaurant, maybe go see a friend’s farm or we may just drive with the top down on the Jeep. Any way it would go down, we both had fun.
By the time he was starting kindergarten, he would come stay with me for a week or so, giving my sister a well enjoyed break and letting my nephew and I have lots of fun and new experiences. I was living in a very small town where I seemed to know everyone so lots of folks would ask if he may enjoy doing this or that for a bit. Friends took him four-wheeling, fishing, etc. He spent time in the tractor as cowrokers planted cotton or something.
I still remember one afternoon’s adventure as we checked out the fire engine with the local fire chief. As we left, the chief told my nephew he could keep the helmet. As we walked back to my office, my nephew explained that he was on a path now…. he had the real helmet. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a fireman, but now that he had a helmet, he’d just need the coat and boots to protect him if he did.
Whether it was a weekend, a week or just an hour or two, we have always spent time together. I’m thrilled we’ve been friends over the years. For his 16th birthday, we went to New York. We had a chance to go out on a sail boat with a friend from my NY years, and in true 16 year old boy style, he ate his way through all the neighborhoods. It is amazing how much he can eat.
A year later, his dad look him to visit family in Japan and I decided to help extend the trip so as his father left, I landed in Japan and the two of us did all the tourist stuff including going to see the sumo tournament. We both became big fans!
More recently, my nephew took a summer break from college and came to live with me. Having the day to day with each other as well as travel breaks apart or whatever really was awesome. We had lots of fun catching movies, ball games, going to the parks, etc.
I think the types of relationships aunts and uncles can have with their nieces and nephews has really changed in my lifetime. My auntw and uncles weren’t around a whole lot as I was growing up. And although I’m not there all the time, I try to be sure we have real converations about the things that matter as well as have moments we can all smile about as we remember when. I hope all of my nieces & nephews (I do have a great nephew) know they can count on me to be there for them on good days, bad days and the average ho hum ones too!
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