Sweet, little, blond-haired, blue-eyed Claire. Face of an angel.
|Claire Elizabeth Holbrook, in happier times.|
Which contorts in PAIN, AGONY and DISSOLVES INTO TEARS every time Aunt Amy comes around.
Really, when I think about it, I don't blame her. In her 18 months on this earth, I've only seen her three times. None of which she remembers from visit to visit.
And this causes me PAIN, AGONY and has been known to induce TEARS. In me.
Believe me, it's not the fault of sweet Claire, or her big brother, 3-year-old Ben, who sang the National Anthem in front of 150 wedding guests, uses words like "perseverance" in normal conversation and sings show tunes. Ben just warmed up to me this weekend, after three years of seeing him about once a year. If I was lucky. When I first saw him at my parent's house in Virginia he ran up to me and immediately declared he wanted to give me a "piano hug." I willingly obliged, although I didn't know what I was in for...a strong clasp with his fingers playing "notes" on my back. The "saxophone hug" was similar, with his arms around me and humming cords into my ear (plus a bonus sound out of his south end....). However, Ben calls our other sister, Beth, "Aunt Dirtball." Clearly a sign of affection. She babysits him. She takes him to the circus. She spends the night at his house. She's obviously deserving of the term of endearment. Because Aunt Beth ROCKS. No two ways about it. I mean, she pretended to be an elephant!!! (I said PRETENDED, super hot BETH!)
|Aunt Dirtball, the Elephant|
At my parent's house this weekend, Anthony, devoted, loyal, loving father of Ben and Claire, husband of Becky, was trying to get the two kids ready for Andy and Juli's rehearsal dinner. Becky, in the wedding party, was already at the rehearsal. This necessitated Anthony wrestling Ben into a button-up shirt, dress pants and dress shoes then tackling Claire: with a hair bow, dress, tights, ruffled bloomers, a cardigan and white patent leather shoes (oh the shoes!!!).
|The Happy Holbrooks, Anthony, Ben, my sister Becky, and Claire|
Claire was crying, Ben was fussing. And who came to the rescue???
Uncle Matt of course! Stellar husband of my sister, Aunt Dirtball, who also sees my niece and nephew on a regular basis.
|Aunt and Uncle Dirtball, AKA, Beth and Matt|
Claire wouldn't let well-intentioned Aunt Amy anywhere near her.
I don't blame her.
But it makes me sad.
As it makes me sad that Jameson, Rylan and Greycen, sons of my brother Jim and his beautiful wife, Lesley, don't really know who I am either. I mean, I see them once, maybe TWICE a year, at most. You see, all of my family lives in Virginia (ie, home). I'm the only one who migrated and never flew home. Jim's boys, plus Ben, call each other The Jokesters. It's SO CUTE. SO HEARTWARMING to see the little guys playing together. My boys aren't there. It's a very happy/sad thing for me.
|The Jokesters at Andy and Juli's rehearsal dinner: Greycen, Jameson and Rylan Brocato; Ben Holbrook|
In some ways this is great. I LOVE TYLER, my magazine and the friends I've made here. I HATE airports, saying goodbye and never knowing when I'll see the rambunctious Brocato brood again.
It actually hurts to even write this: it's not just about Claire crying whenever she saw me (she launched into an epic meltdown Sunday morning when I appeared downstairs for breakfast before her mother or brother). It's about being so far away that I'm afraid our families aren't going to grow in the close-knit fashion I'd always dreamed of.
Don't get me wrong; I love to be employed (in Tyler), but I also have this far-fetched dream of living near my siblings, babysitting their kids, watching Sunday football games together and grilling, seeing movies, getting mani/pedis, going to the zoo, the circus, or just coming over to play.
I'd love to be an Aunt Dirtball someday. Or an Aunt Smelly Feet, or Aunt Stinky Pits. Anything that would endear me to the people I love the most: my family. (and yes, I love my boys the BESTEST, but my family is worth their weight in gold...oh wait....that's not such a good analogy right now....)
You get the point. ;-)