But things are changing . . . Pun'kin and the twins are getting older and their busy schedules don't leave time for visits since they live over five hours away from us. My nephew and oldest niece are grown now, which makes things more complicated . . . and more exciting because there are great-nieces and great-nephews. Of course, we're all much more spread out, too. My nephew and his family are in Alabama, and Robbie's two nephews are in Ohio.
In all honesty, I've mourned the loss of all those spring break and summer vacation visits. I realize that I'm entering a new season in my role as Aunt Melissa. It's been a little bit of a lonely transition for me because it's not one of those well-recognized changes that parents experience and the rest of the world acknowledges and understands. Everyone sympathizes with the young mom who sends her last child off to school and wonders what to do with her daytime hours and nods compassionately as another couple explains how they just moved their youngest off to college and returned home to an empty nest. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there are many who can relate to the sense of loss I've felt this year as I dust the picture story books that haven't been needed for bedtime reading and contemplate finally donating the items in the toy bins.
However, over the past month or so I have begun to embrace this new season and am taking time to recognize and enjoy the new ways we are interacting with our nieces and nephews. Most of our conversations now involve some form of technology. My nephew called one day a few weeks ago to see if I wanted to Skype with his little ones. Uhmm.....YES!! I loved being able to see him playing with our great-niece, who we've not had the opportunity to meet in person yet.
And it totally made me laugh when Andrew showed me his missing teeth and then Garrett explained how he was going to lose his teeth, too, so he could be like his big brother.
I was thrilled to have the text conversation below with our 13-year-old nephew in Ohio. Last summer on our vacation, Thomas helped me make my Grandma's pecan pie for our Christmas in July celebration. Since then, he has made the pie a couple of times. I just know it would make Grandma happy to know that the next generation is baking the best pecan pie in the world!
One evening when we returned home from a night out, there was a message on the answering machine from
Another day I noticed that she had posted this status update on her Facebook page . . . and I, of course, called her for a happy/friendly phone conversation.
It might have been a few days late, but I was still thrilled to get this Facebook message from my oldest niece.
I'm so glad technology allows us to interact in such a variety of ways. However, I'm also glad that I occasionally find something special in my mailbox. These two handmade cards came all the way from Ohio to wish me a happy birthday back in July.
And we received handwritten letters from Paige & Laurie in the mail just a few days ago. I'm so impressed with how well the twins are writing and loved reading about what they've been up to lately. (They even sent us each a special magnet!)
Now that I think about it, this new season as Aunt Melissa might not be so bad after all!