Those of you who don't know me personally may need a little background here. I live in Ohio, but I grew up in Wisconsin, where my parents and sister still live. My younger brother is currently a junior at the University of Dayton (my alma mater) and lives about fifteen minutes from us. He's a very involved and busy college student so we don't see him as often as you might imagine. Still, it is really nice to have him so nearby and get to see him at all!
Last night he came over for a home-cooked meal and some bonding with his niece. The meal did not come without a price, as he ended up dragging laundry up from the basement, wiping muddy dog paws, feeding the muddy dog, and entertaining the child so I could fold laundry and clean up the mess from dinner. He was very gracious about the fact that I kept assigning him tasks by saying things like, "Harper, why don't you see if Uncle Jamie wants to go get the clothes out of the dryer!"
He even had Harper clean up the mess in her "kitchen" by getting her on board with the idea that they could surprise me by cleaning up. I am pretty sure I used this tactic to get Jamie to clean up his toys on many occasions when he was younger. (Jamie, by the way, is nearly nine years younger than I am so I spent many joyful hours serving as his babysitter.)
As I was sitting on the couch, folding a basket of laundry, I was treated to the image of watching my little brother read a book to his niece, who was clearly thrilled to have his attention.
Harper calls him "Unca Jabee," pronouncing his name as though she has a cold. I'm sure she'll grow out of it someday and it's a good thing we'll have this blog to remind us all that there was a time she couldn't say "Jamie;" a time when happiness was sitting on the ottoman, wearing one-piece pajamas, being read to by her kind and patient uncle, and feeling loved.