All four of my nieces and nephews are my world.
When Olivia was born, Paul and I had only been together for a year. I was so head over heels for that chunky, curly blonde hair, blue eyed little girl and I have loved every second of watching her grow up into this taller-than-me-now, well rounded, gorgeous pre-teen. She’s starting to get into social media now which brings me equal parts sadness (realizing how fast the years have flown by) and joy (because it’s so much easier and more fun to get a glimpse of her daily life). When Benjamin was born, my heart instantly grew. Ben looked strikingly similar to his Uncle Paul in their baby pictures and it’s been fun vacationing with them and watching the relationship Ben and his uncle seem to have.
I am so incredibly grateful for each one of our vacations together. We’ve managed to visit Myrtle Beach, Disney World (twice), New York City (twice), Philadelphia, The Great Wolf Lodge, and my favorite so far-Niagara Falls & Toronto together. I count my lucky stars to have ended up with a brother and sister-in-law whom I genuinely love spending time with and who also help satiate my need to travel. Last year my sister-in-law and I planned our Niagara Falls-Toronto trip in a little less than 5 weeks. I can’t wait to see where we end up this summer!!! 😉
I adore every second I get to spend with my West Virginian niece and nephew. Especially the times of pure silliness!
Unfortunately, a move to WV was never in our plans…primarily because of Paul’s career, cemented by my family being in Richmond.
Coincidentally, Nora was born when Britt and Matt lived in WV and I envisioned more frequent trips out to the Wild & Wonderful state to be closer to the three little people I adore most. As life would have it, Britt and Matt ended up giving me the absolute best 29th birthday present ever by moving back to Richmond.
Paul and I made a promise to ourselves that we would try to see Nora at least once a week. With the exception of the weeks they were on vacation, we have successfully upheld our promise for the past almost three years. When Bennett was born last summer, our desire to be an active part of the kid’s lives grew yet again. Unfortunately, we often found ourselves leaving family evenings early to make the 20 minute drive home to take care of the dogs.
Today marks the beginning of our fourth week in the new house. The past three weeks have been two of the most fulfilling weeks of my life.
I’ve found myself pausing randomly during the day and wondering if it’s weird that we totally upended our life-our routine- to move two houses away from my sister. Do sisters do that? Growing up there were two sisters in our neighborhood who lived next door to each other and it was the coolest thing ever in my little kid brain. Honestly, remembering how much fun it was to be able to play in one house and then run to the other right next door (one sister’s kid was my best friend and the other sister’s kid was my sister’s best friend) is something that has never left me. I vividly remember thinking all those years ago how neat it would be to live so close to one of my sisters (back then I only had 2) when we grew up.
I’ve been living a little childhood dream of mine the past three weeks and it’s been wonderful. To use a saying my grandmother always used…I’m absolutely tickled that I get to live here and do this for a very, very long time.
I find myself saying “This is the reason why we moved” countless times each day.
When Nora & Bennett are awake enough to already be downstairs when I head off to work at 8:00 am and they wave to me from their front door. When I get home from work and they’re sitting outside and I hear “Hi Aunt Kate” shouted as loud as possible from the cutest almost three year old as soon as I open my car door. When dinner time rolls around and we squeeze in 20 minutes of adult(ish) conversation with our two best friends over a jointly prepared dinner. When we walk back home instead of having to drive.
My aunts and uncles have played an integral role in my life and it’s incredibly important to me to try to do the same for the four young ones in my life.
My two nieces and my two nephews…they are my reason why.
I feel the need to mention that this was the post I had originally written for last week. I’ve now been taking care of Nora and Bennett for over 3 days while their mommy and daddy are sipping on adult beverages, under the sunny, blue sky and palm trees, laying on the sand and staring at the ocean and despite the screaming, poopy diapers and middle of the night crying sessions, I adore those kiddos still.