Today is my youngest nephew's birthday, my brother's son. Evan's mom is from a large, close-knit family. He barely remembers that I am his aunt except on those very rare occasions when we show up at a funeral or wedding at the same time. But Evan is my favorite nephew, although I doubt he knows that. I think he's about twenty today. I'm feel somewhat guilty that I don't know how old he is, but my brother would be hard put to name my children's ages either. It's sad that we've drifted apart that way, but that's the reality of our lives.
I have one very fond memory of a morning spent with my nephew that makes him my favorite. I'd recently left my husband...and as a result, my children. They were teenagers and had been given the choice of staying in the town they'd grown up in with their dad or relocating with me; of course they chose friends over mom. I'd been missing being "mom" more than being "wife" and had been struggling to start over. My brother was a sports writer for the local newspaper at that time and my sister-in-law worked for the probation department. My older nephew, Rory, was in elementary school. Some kind of construction work was being completed on the house my brother owned at the time and Evan had the chicken pox. It was chaos for them, they were going in ten different directions at once and they asked me if there was any way I could take some time off work and watch Evan.
I remember that I had dwindling sick time left at work.....I'd just moved out of my house, found my own apartment, spent hours in my attorney's office drawing up separation agreements and custody agreements, etc. I was just about tapped out. But I said yes and took a morning off to spend at my brother's house while they took Rory to school and they went off to work. I welcomed the contractor into the house to finish up whatever work was being done. And I spent an enchanting morning on the couch cuddling Evan. He had a head full of unruly black curls back then. I remember that he was more than content to just cuddle. In fact, that's all he wanted to do. And I was in dire need of someone wanting just to cuddle. The morning passed, Evan's fever went down, the contractor finished connecting all his doo dads, and I found a purpose that morning, if only for a few hours. It helped me get on with my new start.
Happy birthday, Evan. You will never know the part you played in my life that morning you had the chicken pox and climbed up in my lap in your Scooby Do PJ's all warm and sleepy-eyed and needing to nestle on the couch. But I'll never forget it. Thanks.