guest blog post by Terry Street, facilities/classroom coordinator, apple seedlings teacher & world sippy cup soccer and apple CORE training "coach" at apple seeds!
2013 has been a big year for my family. Two huge developments have occurred in the last 2 months that are still pretty crazy for me to wrap my head around. My oldest brother and his wife had their first child -- a boy. Soon after, my other brother got engaged to his long time girlfriend. Both were exciting pieces of news that were going to permanently change things within my immediate family. I started to feel like I was also expected to do something noteworthy or undergo some drastic metamorphosis in my own personal life. It seems, however, that I already have. I realized it last weekend when I went down to Washington D.C. to visit my brother, sister in law and brand new nephew. I had become an uncle and it changed me in a much bigger way then I could have ever imagined.
My brothers and I grew up in a suburb of Syracuse, NY. Tim is the oldest. He is 33 years old, lives in D.C. and is married to Margo. After him is my brother Tom. He is 30 years old and just recently moved from San Francisco across the bay to a big house in Oakland, with his fiancée, Alexis. Then there is me -- Terry. (Yes, our names are Tim, Tom and Terry… we are adorable.) I’m turning 28 soon and I live with my girlfriend, Kaitlyn, in Hoboken.
As close as we were growing up, we are all used to being spread far apart now. We all went in different directions to college and we all spent a good portion of time traveling to other continents. We do our best to stay in close contact, but we all wish we did a better job. I can only speak for myself, but for a long time I always assumed that we would be like my Dad and his siblings. He is one of 7 children and when we were kids, 5 of them lived in Syracuse and the other 2 lived within a two hour drive of my grandparent’s house, which was literally just around the corner from my house. Clearly we are going to have to work a lot harder at staying close as adults than they had to.
11 months ago I learned that Margo was pregnant and I was happy for them and appropriately excited when they told me on the phone. After hanging up, Kaitlyn started asking me lots of questions and talking about the first time we would see the baby and what the holidays would be like, etc. It seemed like she was more excited than I was. I was thinking that I barely see Tim and Margo now, how often will I see this baby? In fact, they will undoubtedly be infinitely busier because of the baby!
2 months ago, as Margo’s due date was approaching there was a shift in my outlook. I checked in with her a couple times on Google chat while I was at work (shhh!) and felt myself growing more enthusiastic as we talked and I heard about all the things they were doing to prepare for the baby’s arrival.
Finally, the day came. Gavin was born, the first pictures were sent and I was elated. This must be what it felt like to be an uncle. I was showing people every picture I had, talking about him to everyone who would listen and coming up with nicknames for him. Pretty cool, I thought. I felt the way that I imagined other people felt when they became an aunt or uncle.
My next order of business was to visit this little guy and start “out-uncle-ing” my brother Tom. So last weekend Kaitlyn and I took the bus down to D.C. Tim, who is a kindergarten teacher, was still at work when we arrived so Margo loaded baby Gavin into his car seat and picked us up at the bus station. Having seen probably 50 pictures of Gav (1st nickname) prior to this meeting, I still was not prepared for how little this guy would be. Less than 2 months old, he looked like a doll sleeping in his car seat. I sat in the back of the car so I could be next to him. As we pulled away, in my head I started willing him to wake up. Just then, we turned a corner and the sun shone on his closed eyelids causing him to get restless. Instinctively, I stuck my hand out to block the rays from his face and he resumed his snooze.
I’m not sure what I would have done with myself if he had slept for long after we arrived at their apartment. I couldn’t wait to hold him and luckily I didn’t have to wait long. I’m still unable to describe the emotion I felt when I held his tiny body on my chest and shoulder for the first time and felt his fuzzy head on my cheek. All I can say is that I couldn’t stop smiling. It was like a part of me I never knew was there suddenly exploded into existence. There was a huge swelling of pride that this was MY nephew and I was going to be a part of this brand new person’s life. I was attached to him the rest of the trip. I went out of my way to hold him all the time, even for a 20 minute walk home from a restaurant while Margo pushed an empty stroller. I had a dirty diaper leak on my shorts and I couldn’t have cared less. I was enamored with my nephew and we had a fantastic weekend.
It is always great to see Tim and Margo, but it was amazing to see them so comfortable and well suited to their new roles as parents. They are truly a family unit and I miss each of them individually, but I miss them more collectively. I absolutely cannot wait to see them again and I am so excited for the future in my role as Uncle Terry.