Redemption for torment may come with nephew

Andrea Joseph

Anyone who has read my column for a period of time knows that I became an aunt for the first time last year. Having no children of my own, my niece’s birth was an enormous event that filled my heart with pride.

Now, I admit, I was hoping my brother and sister-in-law would have a daughter. In the first few months of her pregnancy, when my sister-in-law would comment that she thought the baby was a boy, I’d reply to her with a cheer of “Girl, girl, girl!”

And when it was confirmed, my heart leapt and my mind wandered to all the fun, girlie things we would do as she grew.

Last month, that goofy, blue-eyed kid turned 1. Geez, that went fast. Before I knew it, she was crawling, then walking, then cutting teeth. I don’t see her nearly as often as I’d like, so I wonder what new thing I’m going to see during my next visit.

What I do know is that she’s going to be a big sister in a couple of months.

But this time?

It’s a boy.

And though I’m nervous about getting a nephew – after all, I was so excited about becoming “Auntie Andi” to a girl, it never crossed my mind what I’d do if a boy came along – my anticipation is just as fierce this time around.

Anticipation not only for the newest addition to the family, but anticipation of my brother’s reactions to having a son.

Aside from witnessing the drastic gender differences between the children of my friends, I’ve heard stories about my brother and the stress he caused our parents as a young child. And being 4 1/2 years younger, I often felt his wrath growing up. Being that I was the smaller, weaker and more sensitive one, he was always tough on me. So when he and his wife announced they were having a boy, there was only one thing I could do.

I laughed.

Even one of our aunts recently recalled my brother as a terror when he was young: “If their son is like him, Rodd’s going to need A LOT of patience.”

Perhaps all the torment he caused me when I was a kid – the teasing, the pranks, the picking on – will come back around, all in the form of a little baby boy. A mini-Rodd, so to speak. It may take a few years for my brother to feel the full effect of having a son like him, but I’m ever hopeful.

I’m also hopeful that since my niece and upcoming nephew will be only about 15 months apart, they will share a close relationship regardless of their siblinghood; That they’ll stick up for one another should the need ever arise; That, as they grow, they eventually learn to appreciate each other and the tight-knit family they were born into.

I say eventually because, let’s face it: Chances are they’ll be like any other set of siblings (or, at least like my brother and I were). There will be fights and screaming matches. There will be car rides with the incessant “He’s touching me!” There will undoubtedly be a couple of “I hate yous” and the well-known “Mom likes me best,” which my brother still claims to this day.

And along with loving bedtime stories and bear hugs, I imagine there will be plenty of deep sighs, gray hairs and “If you two don’t cut it out, I’m pulling this car over” from my brother.

I can hardly wait.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here