I’d like to think I’m mature.   I am, after all, at least 30 and that’s all you’re going to get from me on that topic.

There is something about this nephew of mine, though.  I don’t get to enjoy it when all my children are home because then I have to operate in ‘responsible mom’ mode part of the time rather than abandoning that persona completely for ‘weird aunt’ mode.  That stinks.  It’s hard to switch from weird to responsible that often and that quickly.

But this week, my children -minus the youngest- are all at their grandparents and my sister decided she wanted to leave town and my nephew and I decided… well… to get together and work on projects.  Yes.  That’s what we were going to do.  First, anyway.  And we did.  A few.  More than one, anyway.

Then we wanted to watch Batman.  Sadly, since his are all on VHS and we didn’t replace ours when it broke we watched the first episode of Merlin… which he MOCKED even though he DID laugh and it WAS funny (I told him so!) before switching to House instead.

I smacked him for mocking my taste in shows at least once.  We laughed at the humor.  We argued vehemently about which shows are worth watching and ate WAAAAYYY too many cookies.

Because I was the mature one, I paused in my viewing long enough to spend 10 minutes on another short project.  Does that make me only 10 minutes more mature than my nephew?

I LOVE being an aunt for any and all of my nieces and nephews (all 20+ of them!), but I have to confess that this kid is pretty special.

This is the boy that I got to ‘baby’ around with.  He and his mom stayed with us while his dad was working out of town.  They came to visit when school was out in the summer and this tiny little guy would sit still and silent with me to stare at a lake because it was me.  He would fish for imaginary fish in our living room and go bear hunting with me outside.  He’s the one who refused to accept my excuse of “I’m holding the carpet down” when he decided it was time to visit the neighbor’s horses and he’s the one who coaxed my high school rear up off the couch to ‘dance’* with him to the Veggietales’ silly songs.

When he grew older his mom typed emails to me for him while I was away at college and he was one of the main draws that home had on weekends during a time when work and school kept most weekends too full to consider arbitrary visits.  I remember him pleading with me not to leave one weekend and promising him I’d come home the next.  I remember my friends laughing at how cute he was when he approached my room where we sat visiting with some stray playing cards in his chubby hands asking to ‘play cards’.  And I remember how offended he was that they didn’t take him as seriously as “Aunt” always did.

And now he’s an enormous, hulking football player in high school.  He’s asking me to help him cut speeches so he can make people laugh and doing heavy lifting to help me out.  He can look me in the eye without sitting on my hip or standing on my lap.  It doesn’t take him as long to come up with a good argument about why I’m wrong about whatever it is he thinks he’s right about… be it his opinion on the best Batman movie or why I should become a “Trekky”**or something more serious like why I should sell my truck to him and why he can’t put the broken door back on upside down.

And he’s growing into an honorable, noble, stubborn, ornery man… just like we hoped.

Because I’m an aunt I can tell him things like “Girls will think you like them if you’re not careful with that chivalry stuff” and hear him call me a conspiracy theorist.

It’s good to be an aunt.  It is fun to watch my own kiddos grow too, but times like this with a nephew are special if only because…

after you spend a little time being the ‘fun aunt’ you more easily remember that you don’t always have to be the ‘responsible mom’.  Sometimes you can be the ‘fun aunt’ with your own kiddos too.

Thanks, Nephew!  Thanks for reminding me how relationship building and enjoyable it is to be ‘fun’ sometimes.

*I can not now, nor have I ever been able to actually ‘dance’, I believe the term for what I did would fall under the hop, spin and jump categories… while holding hands with someone much shorter than I am… which probably takes more skill than ballet come to think of it.

**All Star Trek fans, please forgive my spelling ignorance of this very important term in your culture.