We had a really fun time. It was a great way to end the year.
The six of us managed to pack a lot of stuff into the three days, especially given the snow storm on Saturday, and when they left on Monday afternoon, the three kids apparently fell right to sleep in the car.
That’s one sign of a good weekend.
My nephews, Marc and Ian, who turn two later this month, were their normal happy selves, easily amused, smiling a lot, and over-the-moon excited by dinosaurs, trucks, busses, and water. But while they talk a lot, what they say doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense yet.
On the other hand, my niece, Abby, who is four and a half, has gotten smarter and smarter, and can be very inquisitive and chatty. They say kids say the darndest things, and sometimes Abby says things that just floor me.
For example … Sunday night, while Marc and Ian were being put to bed, I hung out with Abby one-on-one. I asked her what her favorite part of the visit was so far.
Was it lunch at the Deluxe Station Diner?
Was it the make-your-own cupcakes at Treat?
Was it walking around Harvard Square, or the Curious George bookstore?
Was it dinner at Border Cafe?
Was it brunch at our friends’ house, and playing with their daughter in the snow?
Was it was seeing the butterflies and dinosaurs and other stuff at the Museum of Science?
Was it dinner at 5 Napkin Burger?
Was it swimming in the hotel pool?
Nope. None of that stuff.
She hesitated for a second, thinking (in that very serious way that four year olds do) of all we had done, and then answered the question in her kinda sheepish but also very proud way: “When we got to Boston and you surprised us at lunch.”
Not that my meeting them for lunch was intended to be a surprise or anything. But if her seeing me when she got to town was a surprise — and thus, the highlight of her trip — I’ll take it.
Later in the evening, when it was time for Abby to go to bed, for the first time ever she asked me (not her mommy or her daddy) to put her down (i.e., to lay with her for five minutes while she fell asleep).
As we were laying there, Abby turned over, and all of a sudden, unprompted, said to me, “Maybe next time you come to New York, my daddy can put my car seat in your car and I can come back to Boston with you?”
And that made it official. If Abby were to ask me what my favorite part of the weekend was, it would be those moments with her.
When my niece was born, my sister and brother-in-law said they were committed to making sure I was a significant part of her life, and vice versa. So they’ve come to visit me in Boston, on average, twice a year. And of course, I see them at home in New York often.
Suffice it to say, all that time I’ve been able to spend with Abby (and with Marc and Ian) is totally worth it. There’s a real bond there. Being an uncle has its ups and downs, but there are few things in life more rewarding to me than getting to spend time with these kids, and having conversations like those.
Days later, those two things Abby said to me continue to warm my heart and make me smile. And they make me long to spend more time with her.
All I can say is that I’m very lucky.