So, in the next week and a half to two weeks, my sister will give birth to her first child, a girl, Sophia.
Now, there are some kids of close friends of mine who refer to me as "Uncle Mikey", so being an uncle has sort of already happened, but I'm not sure if it is really the same. This one will be genetically linked to me. Not really sure if that's a good thing for her, but whatever. I don't even know exactly how I feel about the whole idea.
For 28+ years I have regarded my sister as an asexual THING. And now, there's a slight chance that someone was actually willing to sleep with her. That gives me the willies. Not from a protective big brother point of view, but as a Calvinesque (The comic character created by Bill Watterson, not the famous real-life Calvin) "EWWWWW" kind of thinking. I'm still wondering if I can't convince myself that a stork is dropping this baby off, and my sister's big belly and cramping are merely the result of some pancreatic infection that has spread throughout her abdomen and caused her to bloat.
I kid. But seriously, I really have no idea what to think about having a new niece. Am I going to become overly protective from a long distance of this little girl? Am I going to be the uncle who spoils the kid rotten before leaving her in her parents' lap and walking away from the situation? Will I be the grumpy uncle who refuses to be twisted around her little finger? Or will I bribe her with money to go do things that irritate my sister and her husband for the entirety of her at-home-with-the-rents life?
It's my understanding that I will meet Sophia this upcoming Christmas when they come up to my folks to visit for the Holidays. Of course at that point in her life, she'll still be a wrinkly ball of flesh and blood, kind of like my kids were when the stork dropped them off. I wonder why they are so wrinkly. Does the stork keep a big water cushion in the blanket to soften the landing for the baby when he drops them off, and it leaks out slowly upon impact soaking them until they look more like a raisin than a human? Do I have much use for a wrinkly little baby? When my youngest son was born, it was easy...get off work, come home, lay on the couch, and when he was finished with his bottle, I stick my pinky finger in his mouth and we passed out together. Dirty diapers??? No problem, mom will be home any moment now (this 'moment' is the same whether it is 8 minutes or 8 hours away)!!! Feeding more was no problem either. Bottle first, finger second, and drift off into yet another nap. Easy business. Sleep helps with ignoring the smell that mommy has to deal with when she gets home. Diapers and changing are not for me, I'd rather go clean the toilet or litterbox out (which ironically the boy used during his potty training once or twice)!!!
Of course, with them living in Florida, and us here in Iowa, is the impact of a new niece really going to affect me in any way? Well it will hit my pocket book, I do know that. Christmas gifts, Birthday gifts, random gifts...my wife loves to shop, especially for other people. Me, I just ask my wife what we got whoever. Even during her family's Christmas, we draw names, and then she buys a present for whoever I got and labels it from me. I usually find out what the gift I gave was when the recipient does.
I grew up halfway across the country from my aunts and uncles. When we visited out there, I was out to impress my uncle Roger with my abilities, which usually amounted to "getting my favorite uncle another beer" as he so aptly put it. My uncle Doug was a cop and former Marine, so as a fellow adrenaline junky, I thought that was pretty cool and liked to monopolize his time as much as possible. (Stupid adults, however, kept crowding me out.) I once made him jump into a neighbor's yard over the fence to fetch a ball I kicked over there. The neighbor had a rather protective dog that didn't hesistate to chase doug back over to his side of the fence. I was tempted to watch the sheer athleticism over in real life replay, but it had been made clear to em that if the ball went over again, that I would be the one getting it. My aunt Janet, well I never really knew what aunt Janet did, other than give me this high arching eyebrow whenever I did or said something really stupid. I was in awe of "THEE eyebrow", mostly because I couldn't do it. And of course she cooked good food, which is the easiest way to make me love somebody. My heart I am convinced is located literally within the confines of my stomach. On my mom's side, my aunt Denise, was basically an older version of my mom. Mind, mouth and legs always on the move, and God only knows where they were going to take her. Not even sure she was always aware of that either. But she had a kid who had toys, so that was enough reason for me to go over there. My uncle George was the laid back "cool" uncle who played in a band, and did all the shooting like my Papa (my mom's dad). Again, as the kid, I was squeezed out from most interesting conversations with the old standby line "go play somewhere else." FUNHATERS! Although Uncle George always had about 500 good jokes to tell me, some of which I'm sure mom wished he wouldnt tell a little kid. For the life of me, I was always left not remembering a damn one of them. But trust me, they were funny when he told them. He had a knack for being a storyteller.
The physical distance seems to have also caused a relationship distance as well, but then again that may just be the loner type in me ruling that area of life. Maybe its just the generational gap, where our interests differed quite a bit as well. I wonder if the distance between my sister's residence and mine would cause the same thing to happen. Will I be the cool uncle when we're around each other in the future, or just her uncle from Iowa, who always lets mom and dad monopolize his time, while telling her to "go play somewhere else" and feign mild interest in whatever act or idea she is trying to impress us with?
I guess we'll find out. In the meantime I have to plot great uncle-niece pranks for the future, as well as prepare multi-faceted plans to interrogate future boyfriends in the interests of ensuring that they never talk her into letting a stork drop a wrinkly raisin, err...baby into her lap.