Hey- don’t judge me yet. Hear me out. I love my daughters and my god daughter and my niece a ton. They bring this joy to my life I can’t explain. They teach me all sorts of good. And, they have made me such a better human. Diving into their lives and worlds has completely changed mine.
But, there is nothing like having a nephew.
I didn’t have a son of my own. Most of you know, I’m a Girl Dad and very proud of that. I write and celebrate my girls as often as I can. My girls all love me now. But, it did take time. My little goddaughter would cry and cry and cry when I entered the room when she was a baby. My niece Alice the same, barely could look in my direction and always wanted her Mom, or one of my daughters and not Uncle Marky to hold her. I found my place with them like I knew I would. I found what makes them tick and I put in the effort. I love that part of it. Knowing they want to hate me or are scared of me and showing them I’m the wimpiest guy in the room and I’m the most willing to play whatever weird game they come up with. I really look forward to annoying their Mom and Dad with the loudest game we can come up with. I get pure joy from when they ask me if they can play a game, knowing full well it somehow involves me getting pushed to the floor and beaten up a bit, or getting whatever type of makeup they have all over my cheeks and eyes.
But, nothing has been as effortless as being an uncle to my little nephews. My nephew Myles lives in California. I have been lucky enough though to meet and spend lots of weekends and a couple full weeks with him. As he grows and has started talking he loves to say Papa and Marky. He looks for us when we are on facetime and when we are together he loves to run full speed and smash into me. We love to just beat each other up. I do let him win now, but I have a feeling that will end soon. I have a feeling I will be begging for mercy and he will have to let me win a few. There is no effort with him. I didn’t have to pass any of the tests my nieces had for me. I didn’t have to prove myself in any way. He just knows instinctively that I’m someone he can do tests of strength with over and over for hours and hours.
My other nephew, Chris, just turned two years old. He lives near me and I see him basically every week or so. And, when I see him he runs to me and my brother Colin. He searches us out in a crowd and loves both of us. He has done this every since he could move. Reaching his hands out for one of us to hold him, crawling to us, and now yelling “Marky” or “Uncle Col Col” and running to one of us. He just wants to hang with his uncles.
Yesterday, Easter Sunday was a big day. We were headed to my Aunts house and this side of the family really hadn’t fully been together outside of a few events in the last couple years. This was the first time for me that I would actually meet some of my new family members. With Covid and everything it was really hard to get everyone together. Well, my Mom is one of 11 children so you can only imagine the amount of people that is with kids and grandkids now. Just a sea of people everywhere.
My nephew Chris had fallen asleep on the car ride so when he first got there he was stuck to Mom for a bit. But, once I saw he was waking up I asked him if he wanted to head outside to the swings…. And, that was it, he never really left my side or my brother Colin’s side. For hours and hours we tossed a football, hit each other with plastic baseball bats, and just beat the crap out of each other.
As lots of my family filtered outside on such a nice day they watched and laughed as little Chris, Colin and I took turns fighting. All the other cousins had paired up with kids their age, tossing nerf balls and eating all the candy they got from the easter egg hunt. My Mom looked at us after a few minutesobserving and I’m paraphrasing here, but she said “Wow, did you guys really need a boy”. She could see that little Chris had lit that fire in the eyes of Colin and I. Time stood still, people everywhere and we barely noticed anyone else.
As I started off saying, I am a girl dad. I relish that role. I very, very much enjoy being that. I love being Meghan and Kiley’s Dad and Maya and Alice’s Uncle. I love all the work I have put in to be trusted in their worlds. I love the care they take in letting someone in their circle.
But, damn do I love that unconditional “it’s time to fight me Uncle Marky” look in my nephew Chris and Myles eyes.
Life continues to bless me in the best ways.
Always and forever the luckiest guy in any room.
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