Jules (the wife) and I are pretty blessed to have some great kids in our lives. We don’t have any of our own, because we don’t want any, and as I joke often, neither of us was born with sperm. It’s a question we’ve fielded a lot, from our parents, from friends, from strangers who barely know us. We do, however, have 4 wonderful nephews and 1 niece (by marriage, but she’s still our niece).
Tyler was born about ½ way through our relationship, cute, blue eyes and a full head of hair. I mean Elvis full head of hair. We visited my sister, Lisa, the moment we could and Julia actually fed him his first bottle while she want to take a shower. We remind Tyler of that sometimes and he laughs, “Aunt Julia did that?”. We spent a lot of time with Tyler because our schedules afforded us that time and we’re grateful for it. Tyler knows we have rules and when he visits, it’s always a grand adventure. If we can plan something with him, take him to lunch, or see the Ice Castle in Fort Kent we try and make that time for him.
Next came Ryan, Tyler’s brother. He’s a cute, fun little guy, who can sometimes be painfully shy and never seems to want to go anywhere – yet! But, now when I see him I always, always, always get a hug. At first I had to get one from him, pick him up and squeeze him. Now he sees me and comes up to me and hugs me, I get an “I love you” too lately. He doesn’t choose to come on many adventures to the Ma’Tante’s house yet, but I’m pretty sure this summer we’ll be able to coax him into coming for a few rides on 4-wheeler with Rhys and Victoria. He’s curious in his own way, and I see him watching people, like he did at Christmas this year. Maybe he’ll be the reader of the bunch, or the thoughtful guy, I’m not sure yet. His baby blues are shifting to green as he grows older, and I’m sure in a few years we’re all going to have our hands full.
On the heels of Ryan came Rhys. Rhys is my brother, Lee’s son, with Victoria, who has done a wonderful job of raising him. I was always closer to Lee than to Lisa, I’m not sure why, we liked the same music, he drove my car faster than me and when he was born I didn’t ask to send him back. Rhys knows who Spiderman is (I have lobbied, unsuccessfully, to have ANY of my nephews named Peter Parker, or Peter, or Parker, alas, it didn’t happen). Rhys volunteered to “Come help at your house” this summer when I stopped in to see him, I was going to pick up Tyler, but ended up bring Rhys home with me instead. Rhys loves his MaTante Julia, and the whole time we were at our house, he kept asking, “Where Tante Jules?” and the moment he spotted that green Vue, he was a happy guy. Rhys comes with us (and his Mom) to ride 4-wheeler sometimes and he’s a peach, and will only ride with Tante Julia and looks at us like we are insane for suggesting he ride with anyone else. But on the day he spent with me at home he wanted to do something that I love doing too – walk on the tracks. The tracks is where Jason (one of my best childhood friends) and I played a lot and I love walking them, and so does Rhys. He’s such a wonderful blend of my brother and Victoria in this picture.
Then came Zoe – she’s Brian (Julia’s brother) step-daughter. We’re lucky to have her around, since it seems that everyone else has boys! Geez! She’s this blonde, precocious kiddo with bright blue eyes. She rolls her eyes often, loves to jump on us and tell us to “Listen” because she’s loving center stage. This fall we told Brian and Kelly we’d love to take pictures of the kiddos, Kel and Bri have a son together, Adam, but we wanted some pictures of both the kids. If we were going to do a photo session we were not going to exclude Zoe! We figured we’d save Brian and Kelly a few bucks, I take pretty good pictures. One of the things that Julia and I do in putting up picture on our wall is we put up candids, or pictures that we took of the kids and not some professional photographer. We did some poses and the parents were telling the kids what to do, which was okay, but I love her playfulness and I wanted that captured. I told Zoe, just be you, and she was great. Some of the best shots were of her being, well, Zoe.
Alpha. Alpha you say? No one would name a kid Alpha? Or would they? No, Kelly and Brian didn’t name him Alpha, they named him Adam Brian Cyr. ABC – Alphabet! I was calling him that well before he was born (and this Christmash is TeeShirt, another tradition, said Adam aka Alpha). I say Alpha and he looks, he knows JUST who is talking to him and he answers with a smile. He just started walking but he’s a curious little guy, always looking to touch, sniff or jump on things. On our picture taking day, while Brian and Julia were playing on this see-saw thing, Alpha was sitting back, watching his Dad being as big a kid as he was going to be in a few years, sucking on his thumb, or looking up at the trees and pointing. Taking pictures, good ones, of kids is hard sometimes, but all you need is patience. And lots of room on your SD card.
While we might not have kids, we are blessed with nephews and a niece, who we spoil then send them back home to their parents. : ). We’re lucky that they are a pretty well behaved bunch. Our biggest goal this summer is introduce Alpha to riding 4-wheeler and this one is going to ride with me, MaTante Julia gets enough attention as it is!