Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Uncles

My kids have some very good uncles.  I know this because I had some very good uncles and I can compare.  My oldest brother recently had minor orthopedic surgery on his knee.  My youngest son, who has never known anyone who has had any type of surgery, was extremely concerned.  And wrote his oldest uncle a letter asking him many, many questions about the use of crutches, the pain of the surgery, and . . . the possibility of duck hunting.  My middle daughter also was part of the letter writing and added her own thoughts - also referring to the possibility of duck hunting.   They also slipped a $1 bill into the envelope before sealing it.  I don't think they ever expected an answer because seriously who, these days, actually writes letters?

My big brother did.  If he only knew how much that meant to these kids! They were absolutely thrilled to receive a handwritten letter in the mail! My son read that letter to me at least three times!  He was amazed that his big uncle had written to him and had mentioned duck hunting!  I hope he knows that his nephew and niece have the memory of an elephant!  They will never forget that hunting ducks was mentioned.

My little brother doesn't write letters. But he is a very good uncle.  My kids love him!  As my little brother, I remember many more stories about him than I can recall of my big brother(who I viewed as a legend).  I regularly tell my kids stories about Rob when he was growing up and I'm sure many of those stories are those he would rather I kept to myself! 

As aunts and uncles, I think sometimes we overlook the power and influence we have over our nieces and nephews.  We can show kindness - or not.  We are role models, we are extensions of the family, and we all have some very huge shoes to fill.  I know that I will never be the aunt that my Aunt Carol was but I'm hoping as years go by I get better at it.  I'm lucky to have some great nieces and nephews and I don't tell them often enough how much I love them!

The truth is, that some people just have crappy families.  That is not the case with me.  I was lucky to be gifted with the best brothers that God could have given, the best parents that God could have given.  My brothers could have chosen to be invisible uncles, but instead, choose to carry on the tradition of my Uncle Joe, and to be a very good uncle.