My nieces and nephew are a goofy bunch. Moving to L.A. has been amazingly good for me and I love living here, but one of the biggest sacrifices that I've made by moving here has been that I don't get to be as much of a part of my nieces' and nephew's lives as I might if I still lived in my hometown. I don't and won't have kids of my own so I'm really fortunate to have a brother that goes out of his way to include me in his kids' lives, and even at a distance, I think that I get to be a part of the kids' lives more than many uncles around. I was talking to my sister this weekend, though, and she told me two stories about my brother's kids that made me miss being home. My brother's kids are now 6, 7, 11, and 20. The oldest is off in Northern California for college and is a great kid. The three younger ones are the ones that as a crew are freakin' crazy, nuts, amazing, hilarious, and an absolute blast!!! Here are two stories that illustrate what I mean.
One day, my brother's family was eating breakfast when my sister-in-law moved one of the place mats at the breakfast table. Under the place mat, she found my nephew's class picture from school with graffiti'd messages scrawled across the pictures. My sister-in-law decided that she'd get down to the bottom of the situation and began her interrogation of the usual suspects. Ultimatums were issued and a variety of time proven parent interrogation techniques were employed. Finally, G., the baby, cracked! While she didn't outright admit to the crime right off the bat, she tacitly admitted her guilt when she sobbed, "What if somebody was really, really mad when they did it???"
Later in the weekend, my brother was driving the family into town with the air conditioner on when he noticed scrawled into the condensation on one of the back windows the message, "G. Sucks" Needless to say, Daddy was not pleased and now it was Daddy's turn to turn to show his facility with some of the same time proven parent interrogation techniques. Daddy's lecture was in full bloom when my brother realized that in tiny letters below the large scrawl was the second part of the message … "her fingers." Hmmmm. Pretty tricky, huh? My brother, apparently, wasn't so easily fooled by the whole tiny "her fingers" afterthought and finished the Daddy lecture, but he later admitted that Daddy lectures kind of lose some impact when the dad who's giving it can't stop laughing through the delivery.
My brother is a great dad. He's the kind of dad that I wish that we'd had when we were growing up. He's got great kids, but I think that's because he and his wife work really hard at it.
And that's why I miss being home sometimes …