After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?
This photo is from July 2012.
This is my nephew EM (his parents prefer not to use his name online) who was about 9 months in this photo I think. He and I hung out in the shade while his older brother JJ jumped in the swimming pool. He was super wriggly at that age so PapPap and Grandma were very happy to let me be on containment duty while we visited the afternoon away. What could be better – a sunny but not too hot day, a glass of lemonade, people to chat with and a joyful child?
At the holidays, we all went to Panera (JJ’s choice) and had another perhaps less “restful” but definitely unwinding experience. This time, EM did not want to be held by Aunt Sue or Aunt Laura because he’s a big boy able to stand in the photo with his brother and his cousin. Being with the kids is terrific (MM is their cousin who lives in Delaware but visits often) but it is hard to manage – they have busy lives and it can be hard to smush time in that works for everyone.
JJ’s birthday was last month and we were looking forward to it until his mother broke the news – they had hired “Reptile Man” to entertain the kids so there would be multiple snakes involved. Uh oh. Aunt Sue is snakeaphobic so that didn’t work. But I love that the kids were learning about caring for their world so missing the party was no big deal.
My favorite time is when we just head over to their house and chillax. They are in their turf so after pizza and some chit chat, we can watch Aunt Laura have no clue how to play the video game or read a book or admire their Halloween costumes or color or all those awesome things that are absolutely wonderful.
So my favorite way to unwind is to spend time with these kids that I adore and who bring so much to my life that I couldn’t begin to describe it. Being an aunt by choice is quite a responsibility. It requires buying books as gifts and also making sure that JJ doesn’t continue to confuse Michael Jackson with Justin Bieber (I thought Aunt Laura would die on the spot when that happened.)
And we can proudly say that we bought JJ his first action figures (they are vegetarians) – Mr. Bacon and Monsieur Tofu. It was a proud moment when his moms sent us a photo of him fast asleep with the figures clutched tightly in his hands. Ha. That’s called being creative and paying attention – JJ is addicted to kidney beans.