Today is my nephew, Eric's sixth grade graduation. I cannot be there because they live in Southern California, and I'm not ready to travel with my four month old. The reason I am writing about him today is because I would love to share the story of our friendship. Ever since he was born I felt a special connection with him. To this day, I cannot really pinpoint it, obviously love, but it goes deeper than that. I didn't get married till I was 30 so for about 8 years he had me all to himself. Especially since my husband was in the military when we were dating so he wasn't around very much, and my other nephew, Ryan, didn't come along till three years later. Therefore, it gave Eric and I a lot of time to nurture our relationship.
For a long time (as I have mentioned previously) I wasn't sure if I either wanted children or if they were in my future so I gravitated towards my nephew like a moth to a flame. I know all kids have their funny moments and Eric isn't an exception. I remember when my sister-in-law was pregnant with Ryan, Eric would go around telling people that his mommy ate the baby. That was his explanation for how the baby got there in the first place. During this same time period, we were out on one of our dates and he saw a man with a beer belly, he grabbed my hand and pointed and said out loud..."look Ia he's pregnant!" (He's always called me "Ia" short nickname for Tia which is Spanish for aunt. Though now that he is twelve, he says it correctly.)
Our tradition was to go to breakfast and then to the library or a bookstore. I quickly became the person that offered him a lot of mental stimulation because I have always been pro-education (especially since I was the first female in my family to obtain a college degree). As the years went on our special bond has persisted. When my husband (then boyfriend) got out of the military and joined the reserves he started coming around more, and well you can only imagine how thrilled Eric was. He would ask him a lot of questions and he would stand/sit in between us. One day he even told my husband I cannot call you Tio (uncle) until you give my Tia a ring and marry her...haha! Its a good thing by this time my man knew exactly how special our relationship was.
Eventually, I got engaged and the wedding plans began. I knew from the get go that I wanted my nephews in my wedding no matter what! Instead of flower girls I had both my little studs in grey suits at my side. Eric was the official ring bearer and let me tell you, he took the job very seriously. He did not understand why he didn't get to go up and present me with his pillow and rings (well he didn't know at the time that the rings on the pillow were not the real ones!) Sorry honey! Throughout the wedding planning, everyone knew I would be moving to Northern California which is about a seven to eight hour drive from my hometown. I knew that I was really going to miss Eric and unfortunately miss out on a lot with my nephews as they grow up. To this day, when I am on the phone with Eric and I tell him I miss him, he still says "well you're the one who got married and chose to move away." He's even told me several times that my husband and I should move in with my parents since they have a big house...haha!
I also have to mention his reaction to my telling him that I was pregnant. Well he wasn't happy about it. He even told me that now he wouldn't be my person/baby. I didn't get hurt about his reaction because I completely understood (and his a kid). But I did reassure him that he would always be special to me. When it was time to have my baby shower, I was happy to know that he still gravitated towards me and offered to help me with everything. He was still constantly at my side even with my big ol' belly.
So lets fast forward to today, he's twelve years old and graduating from sixth grade. Recently he's been on my mind so much because I get scared that as he grows up I will no longer be a special person in his life. He proved me wrong! Yesterday, in the evening, someone called me with a phone number that I did not recognize so I didn't pick it up. A few seconds later, I received my first text message from Eric (he got a cell phone for his birthday/graduation)! As soon as I realized it was him, I called his cell phone and I was so giddy (I realize I probably should not egg this on, but I can't help it! I live far and cannot be there like before, so I had hopes that my brother & sis-in-law would give in to this idea). We spoke for the first time on his own cell phone and he sounded so happy. The first thing he told me was "Tia save my number so we can talk all the time, and I can send you texts." I kid you not I felt so overwhelmed with joy that after we hung up I let out a huge Yay! My husband thought it was great too, and even reassured me that now I can continue to be there.
This morning he has already sent me texts from his actual graduation (not sure if my brother knows this!). I have to share that one of his texts made me laugh, it said: "Gpa is imbarrassing(sp) me at school." Of course, I reassured him that my dad means well and loves him and he responded with "I know."
I never would have imagined having such an immense bond with my nephew, and I am grateful to my brother and sister-in-law that they encourage it as well. Even after getting married and having my little Luna, my nephew will always have a piece of my heart.
To my nephew Eric, baby I am so proud of you! I know that I said, I would stop calling you baby when you reached the double digits, but maybe just not around your friends! Congratulations on your 6th Grade Graduation! Your are an amazing young man. As you continue on to even bigger things, I want you to know that your Ia will always be here for you. I love you!
Do any of you have special bonds with your nieces or nephews? If so, I would love to hear about it. Tell me what special things you do together.