I remember when the call came. My mom and dad and I all loaded into the car and headed to the hospital. We were very excited! My sister was in labor and I was about to be an aunt. That is very exciting anytime, but especially if you are still just a kid yourself. My sister is 12 years older than me, so I was only 12 years old when my first nephew was born. And a few months later my first niece was born to my brother and sister-in-law. I loved them at first sight! They were like little living baby dolls! I fed them, changed diapers, sang to them, rocked them to sleep, played with them, read to them, and yes, even fought with them.
A couple of years later, there was another nephew. Then a couple more years and another nephew. Then a couple more years, and one more nephew...the last of the bunch until my young'uns came along some seven years later. And since mine have been born, I've gained a niece by marriage, and another nephew recently got engaged. My nieces and my nephews are very, very special to me. In some ways more like little sisters and brothers, than nieces and nephews. In some ways almost like my own!
I am so thankful for each one of them, and all that they add to our family.
They make me laugh.
They make me worry.
They make me pray.
They make me proud.
They make me feel old.
They teach me things.
They challenge me.
They keep me sharp.
They ask me tough, gut wrenching, rubber meets the road questions.
They make me wish I could wiggle my nose and make everything okay.
They make me wish I could click my heels together three times and be back home again.
They make me wish money (or airplane tickets) grew on trees.
They make me want to gather them all under my wings like a momma hen.
They make my life fuller and more complete.
They make Chronicles of Narnia, blanket forts, Shrinky Dinks, Wicked, magnetic bumper stickers, videos of VBS, Christmas programs, elf antics, iPad games, board games, girlfriend's names, fishing trips and family pictures into special memories.
From the first breath of the first nephew, who now has his own little one, to the heartfelt talk I just had with one of them, I am thankful beyond measure for my nieces and my nephews, and the love and joy they add to my life!