30 Days of Thanks Day 16 – My Nephews

Last Thursday I wrote about my nieces and today, in honor of my nephew Joe’s thirtieth birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) I get to brag about my nephews. I appreciate their patience.

My five nephews – Chris, Joe, Daniel, Josh and Randy – are intelligent and creative young men. Some are married. Some are fathers. They are curious and adventurous – all but one traveled internationally before the age of 25. I’m sure Randy will join the others in travel given time.

One of my mother’s often stated lines about raising children is “Boys are different than girls!” My sisters, well versed in female relationships, have raised strong young men who display empathy for others and respect for all. They are courteous and kind. Chris coaches young soccer players. Joe serves in the National Guard. Daniel embraces all cultures and lived on four continents between the ages of 17 and 19. Josh is a talented magician and astounds us with his slight of hand. Randy, a spiritual young man, just started taking classes at a community college while working for a faith-based charity.

Because I was not much older than my oldest nieces and nephews I have usually been seated at “the kids’ table” – or ‘the island of misfit toys’ as Chris calls it – for holiday dinners at my parents’ house. I was in my twenties before I had seating at the ‘grown up’ table, and only because there was no way I could get to the kid’s table in my wheelchair. But those dinners with my nephews at the kid’s table were some of the best conversations! We got to be silly, and tell stories the grown ups may not have approved. I heard their opinions about issues important to them.

Like my nieces, I’ve learned a great deal from my nephews. Thanks to Chris, I know it takes four revolutions of my parents’ driveway on a tricycle to make yourself sick after Easter dinner. Joe taught this Devil’s fan how to love a Ranger’s fan. Daniel taught me the wonder of helping a child learn his first words. Josh taught me the value of being a patient listener while having conversations with young men. Randy taught me the importance of covering a baby with a cloth while changing a diaper. These important lessons, along with many others, have served me well and I am grateful to my nephews for being instructors even if they had no idea it was happening.

I am proud of these five young men – for the gifts you share with the world and those around you. I hope you continue to realize how “the aunts” love and appreciate all you offer. I am grateful for the smiles and joy you bring to us.

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