A few weeks ago I went home to visit my dad. He just a bought a new house and I hadn't seen it all moved in. My little sister was also home and she had found a huge bin of old family photographs.
It was hilarious.
Particular favorites included my father holding his youngest child on the day of her birth wearing a pink polo shirt - chest hair flying for the world to see - and a big gold chain. Did he think about that outfit? Really, what outfit lost to that one? 'Nothis isn't what I want to wear the first time I see my child. Where's that gold chain?' There were also endless shots of my little brother running around naked, my big brother trying his best to be named the world's fattest baby and me looking endlessly adorable, of course.
Then we came across some photos of my aunt holding me when I was a baby. My aunt was at that point in her early 20s - close to my sister's age - and rocking the ridiculously large hair and vibrant colors of the late 1980s. Then it hit us. In 20 years or so, that goofy looking aunt in old photographs will be us.
My big brother - the comically chubby baby from those old pictures - and his wife are expecting their first baby this weekend. Even though I have all sorts of cousins and friends with little rug rats running around, this is the very first baby in my immediate family.
I am so excited.
We don't know her name yet but my niece is going to be awesome, and very spoiled by this aunt - as in ant, not "want" - and, judging from the baby shower, probably the rest of the family as well.
I think I will be the last of the family to meet her since, unfortunately, the drive to Madison, Wis., is a bit too far for a day-trip. That doesn't, of course, stop me from plotting how I could get away once I get the call - it's about a six hour drive, door-to-door, from my house to the hospital so if I left at noon I could get back by 2 a.m., sleep for three hours and be up in time for work in the morning, right? Eventually the more rational portion of my brain takes over and I decide waiting until the weekend after Thanksgiving is still the best plan, but I know I will be itching to get down there every day in between!
Since I have just started my Christmas shopping - this is very early for me, by the way - I have started thinking about what I should get my first favorite niece. Now, I know she won't remember or probably care much what she gets when she's only a month and a half old, but this is a chance to start a tradition.
I am a sucker for traditions. Unfortunately not many family traditions from my childhood seem to have stuck around, but we do still have bacon-wrapped scallops on Christmas Eve and surreptitiously remind each other of special events and birthdays, even though no one has forgotten them. But I am now at a point in my life where I can start building my own traditions, and I have decided that I will get the same kind of Christmas present every year.
My first thought is that I'll be the book-giving aunt. But that, unless you're a literary freak like me, is super lame. Most kids do not want books on Christmas and birthdays. I could do a cool ornament every Christmas, I suppose. Maybe I'll be the techie aunt and get some weird gadget every year. I am open to suggestions.
Beyond my over-thinking tendencies, I am so excited for my big brother and his wife. Congratulations, you two. You are going to be great parents and I love you both.
Now back to anxiously awaiting the good news!