On April 15th, 2010, I became an uncle for the first time. Luke Christopher is the first grandson to my wife’s parents, and our first nephew. After spending only a few short hours with him, both in the hospital after he was delivered, and then a few more times when visiting, I heard my wife, Diana, say something that I promised her, after teasing, I’d quote her on later.
The line she uttered after one of our visits to hang out with Luke and his parents was, “How could I ever possibly love another child as much as I love Luke?”
I had to admit, I could see her point, what with his ear-to-ear grin when he heard his mom’s voice, or when a rogue peek-a-boo match was afoot. Or maybe it was the feeling of holding the little guy and having him stare up at me with his vulnerable eyes and impressionable mind that made me consider Diana’s quote. The thought that I may be a part of a memory of his down the road, or that I might somehow contribute to an association he’ll forever make with football, or reading a book, or eating soup, was daunting. That I could help shape, in whatever infinitesimal manner, my young nephew into the man he’ll ultimately become was a feeling of responsibility, of love, and of happiness. I saw what Diana meant when she told me that she didn’t know how she could ever love another child as much as she loves Luke.
On October 15th, 2011, Luke’s sister, Olivia Jean, was born. She blessed us with her arrival a few weeks premature, so when I first met her, she needed the assistance of a couple breathing tubes and a phototherapy light to let her build up the strength in her lungs and stay warm. It truly is an amazing thing to see your family grow right in front of your eyes. I was an uncle again! I felt an immediate connection to Olivia, and thought about what I will feel like when Diana and I start having our own kids. So after grilling the doc at the NICU about the levels of oxygen she was receiving, and the implications of taking her off the breathing tubes, and signs we needed to watch out for that were either positive or negative, and wondering whether the people coming in and out of the NICU should be there, if the floors, air and blankets were clean, if there was enough hand sanitizer in the room for all of the docs and nurses to use, and my mind trying frantically to understand each of the flashing status lights and sounds in the room Olivia was in, I realized something… how could I ever love another child as much as I love Luke and Olivia?
Today we’re sharing 5 entries honoring a few beloved uncles.
1. My Uncle Bill loved being a school principal and always had great stories to tell about his students. But at our house in California every end of the school year my sisters and I would receive “The Uncle Bill Box”. It was a treasure trove of all the pencils, erasers, harmonicas, penknives, tokens, toys and other stuff that the students didn’t claim by the end of the year. It was and exciting day to open the box and go through its curious contents. So thank you all for making 4 little girls laugh and laugh once a year long ago. [Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
2. I could write a book on all the great times we’ve had over the years. He was one of the best uncle’s anyone could ask for. He sure taught me alot about fast cars and racing. Go Mopar and Fat boys Inc. Good ole magnolia drag strip. I remember how he loved to find the biggest pumkin at halloween. Even the year he tied the string to his toe incase anyone tried to take it. ha ha I will forever be greatful that i was a big part of his life growing up. [Published in The Repository]
3. Sam, I will always remember you taking Kristi, Ashley, Christopher, Jeanette and I on long hikes. You would always get us lost and we would have to hike up some huge cliff to find our way back. Those were some of the best memories I will keep forever. Thank you for always being such a wonderful, fun Uncle. [Published in The Gazette]
4. He was my favorite, and most beloved uncle; always stopped by the house to see me when I was in town. He kept my old Chevy Cavalier running until I could afford a new car, and only charged for parts to repair, or not at all…the kindest most gentle man I’ve ever known. [Published in Lexington Herald-Leader]
5. I had the coolest Uncle ever. He would never hesitate to hang out with his nieces and nephews. When we were kids he was the only adult in the family that would jump in the pool for a malicious round of marco polo. Or at his own Wedding, while the other adults were drinking and dancing. He was hangin out at the bar with me and my little sister teaching us the proper way to order drinks. A shirley temple ‘on the rocks’. He was there to lecture me about boys, make me brush his hair, and watch Bill Nye the Science guy on Saturday Mornings. I love you Uncle Dusty. [Published in Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News]
Legacy.com reviews one million condolence messages each month. Each week, we highlight 5 condolences with a common theme.