Before I married Eric, I was the proud aunt of twelve nieces and nephews. To say that I LOVE being an aunt would be a huge understatement. I loved playing "Cootie" with Kaylee when she was three years old, I loved how Dallen would just toddle over and plop himself in my lap anytime that lap was free. I loved how Marian would sing songs from Sleeping Beauty to me whenever I would call to talk with my sister on the phone. I could go on with happy memories involving most of the others (not all of the others though-none of the last three have been around for more than six months, which makes it hard to have a whole lot of quality aunt time with them), but I think you get the idea.
The fabulous thing about marrying Eric (aside from the fact that I get to live with and be married to Eric) is that I now have an additional nine nieces and nephews to play with! Hooray! We spent much of Sunday afternoon with Eric's parents as well as his brother and their family. The two boys, (who I think were a little leery of me in the beginning) have apparently decided that rather than being competition for Uncle Eric's attention, I am more along the lines of an extension of Uncle Eric-i.e., someone who can play with them when he's busy doing other things. Yesterday we spent a while in the garden, lifting up rocks and logs and looking at the bugs underneath. I don't think the boys were expecting me to pick up the earthworms and potato bugs without being squeamish, but once they got over their initial disappointment (that they couldn't scare me with them), we all had a good time looking at these very interesting creatures. I drew the line at centipedes though. I absolutely detest centipedes.
And then there's little Emma (or big Emma, as she prefers to be called). Emma is three years old, and she appears to have decided that as far as girls in the family go she and I are it for now. (moms and grandmas don't really count ya know?) Emma does have a little sister, but she doesn't really talk yet, and so isn't completely satisfactory as a playmate at this point. So, Emma plays with me. She wears my shoes, and tries on my jewelry (I usually try to wear the cheap stuff when I know I'm going to see her, for that very reason). She protects me from the antics of her brothers, (on Sunday she very ably rescued one of my shoes from the clutches of 6-year old Johnathan), and we talk about how good it is that we are nice girls, instead of teasing boys. Best of all, if I'm sitting down, all I have to do is hold my arms out, and within a split second, my arms and lap are full of sweet, tender, charming, little, big, Emma.