It should come as no surprise to anyone who has read this blog or talked to me for 15 minutes that I adore my twin niecelettes. David aside (he fits in another category), they are the two most important people to come into my life since my brother was born many years ago (he just had a birthday, but I am choosing not to disclose his age because it makes me feel old).
The girls know this fact and love hearing me tell the story of the day he came home from the hospital. Ok, what they really love about the story is that I was a naive 6 and a half year old who didn’t understand male plumbing. So the first time I changed his diaper, he peed in my face. Apparently this is a story that they just can’t get enough of!
I have shared my anxieties already about how my relationship with my niecelettes will change when our baby arrives. However, at this moment, I am feeling fairly confident in the solidity of my relationship with my them. Sometimes they are wiser than I give them credit for. They have both been very clear with me that they understand that the new baby will be my first priority but that they will be my niecelettes forever and I will always love them.
But lately I have been worrying that I have been giving my brother short shrift. After all, he is the primary parent of two of my favorite people in the world! And as much as I adore them, they would not be who they are without him. I know he thinks I only come east to see his daughters, and that is an impression that I constantly reinforce by not being able to get enough of his girls. But the fact is that I really admire my brother and am extremely proud of him. And those are both things that I need to get better at articulating to him.
My family of origin is not one that verbally expresses affection. Love is expressed through deeds more than words. So while I find it very easy to tell David that I love him, I have a much harder time verbalizing that to my brother. But I do try my best to be emotionally supportive from across the country. And I do what I can to ease his daily chore-load when visiting him. To me, this is the equivalent of telling him that I love him, but I don’t know if he perceives it that way.
I have absolutely no doubt that my brother will love his new niece unconditionally. That is just who he is. But I think it is important that my daughter know what a mensch her uncle is. And for her to understand that, I need to add words to my deeds. So while I know it will be awkward at first, I am going to try my best to start telling my brother how much I love him and how important he is to my life. And not just because of the great children that he fathered. But because of who he is and all of the gifts that his existence has brought to this world.