I have a very close relationship with my siblings. I'm 35 and the oldest of 5 children. The youngest......well, he's 14. Yes, go on....quickly work that number out in your noggins. Take a minute, I'll wait. Yes, that is correct. There is 21 years between me and my youngest brother, Corey. Yes, 21 years.....that isn't a typo. Technically I was old enough that he could have been mine, lol. He's not however.....don't get excited.....there is no deep, dark, family scandal here where I had a kid and got my parents to raise him......honestly.....he's not mine!!!! Sorry to disappoint you Corey.....you are only my wee brother, so you'll just have to be content with having a wayyyyyyy older (but awesome) big sister, lol.
Anyway, I digress. So, my brother, Jay (who is only 1 year younger than me) phones me one night recently and whilst talking to me, sends me a photo to my phone and asks me to open it whilst on the phone to him. Now this is nothing unusual......my brother is always sending me daft photos of himself and vice versa......it's what we do. You have to get my family really to understand our strange behaviour in sending really stupid photos to each other. Between all 7 of us (parents included...and don't even think about arguing your sensibilities Mammy.....Star Wars? Remember? That's all I'm saying, Mwahhhh) there probably isn't a sensible bone in any of our bodies, teehee. Anyway, back to the photo. So, here I am on my mobile, trying to open up this "daft" photo whilst attempting to not hang up on Jay at the same time. But oh dear God, instead of there being a posy photo of Jay doing a duck-face on my screen, there was a positive 2-3 weeks pregnancy test staring at me. I just sort of stared at it for a second, kind of confused as to why Jay would send me this. And then the penny dropped. OMG! I cried! I screamed! I think I just went through about 10 different emotions in about 10 seconds. It was such fantastic news. This was the first child being born of all of us siblings. Then, my sister Tara (who is 24) dropped by just over 3 weeks later to say "hello" to me. Again, nothing unusual so it was just like any other visit....or so I thought. I had bought her a wee dress and I casually handed it to her, saying "I hope it fits you ok", to which she replied "well, it probably won't fit me for long. I'm pregnant". I swear to you now, I froze but at the same time, nearly fell off my chair onto the kitchen floor. I didn't believe her at first. I sort of laughed and then re-evaluated the look on her face. To be totally honest, and please don't judge me for this, I answered both my poor siblings in the exact same way, weeks apart but unintentionally of course but looking back on it......at least I was fair in my reaction and I didn't treat ones news any differently than the others. No? Yes? Maybe? Maybe not, when you hear how I replied to both Siblings, just weeks apart!!
"F*** Off, you are not! Are you?"
Obviously, Jay is not pregnant! But his wife, Karen is, lol
I know, I know! I can hear your disappointment from here and the "Ohhhhhh Lee". That was so un-ladylike and such an appalling reply. But you have to understand, these announcements came out of nowhere! Don't tell my Granda! I'd die if he knew I'd used that word. It was the shock Granda......honestly! I was totally and completely shocked. 2 pregnancy announcements in so many weeks which just seemed to come out of nowhere and the bad word just kinda slipped out. Im so sorry!!!! I'm apologising to my blog readers for my reaction to my siblings pregnancy announcements......well that's a new feature, lol.
Needless to say, the whole family is delighted. My parents have been wanting Grandchildren for forever, and now it looks like they'll be getting 2 in the same month, lol. Ha! Be careful what you wish for, lol. So, once I calmed down, I of course have been getting more and more excited for the arrival of my first nieces or nephews. I heard my sister's Wee Bean's heartbeat for the first time a few nights ago and it had me almost in tears!
Anyway, I started to obviously think about being an Auntie. And then I was thinking about the influences that my Aunts and Uncles have had on my life. Then I was thinking, OMG will I be any good at this Auntie malarky?! Obviously, I was 21 when my wee brother Corey was born so I know how to do all the baby stuff like feeding, cleaning, dressing, bathing etc. But what about all the other stuff that Auntie's bring to the table?? I'm not sure I'm ready for this.....I'm too immature (at 35!). My Aunts and Uncles were awesome to us as kids and adults. But I don't even class myself as an adult even though I'm practically middle-aged! Will I be any good at all? I sat here for ages just thinking about my childhood, my upbringing and my how my Aunts and Uncles influenced my young life to make me into the (somewhat) adult I am today. And sitting here thinking on it, I didn't realise just what an influence they all had on my life but really, the impact my Aunts and Uncles have had on me has been quite massive. Not only am I a product of my upbringing from my parents, but a product of my Aunts and Uncles too. That is a pretty massive thing to realise! How am I going to compete or even measure up to these wonderful people? I sat there thinking about them individually and all the great memories of each of them that I have. Here are just some of the things that I remembered:
How my Auntie Fiona had the patience of a Saint when I tried to learn, well anything. I remember specifically trying to grow out my nails. And even though my nails were virtually non existent, she came up to our house to show me how to file them and look after them properly. I thought I had done an amazing job at growing them out but being a real wee Tom-Boy, I did tend to break them a lot and found it hard to grow them with me climbing trees and basically doing everything that little princess girlie girls didn't do, teehee. But when I thought they were "long", there was my Auntie Fiona, loaded up with her full nail gear, graciously congratulating me on doing such a good job on growing them out. And even though they hadn't really grown out much more than a millimetre, she patiently sat giving me a manicure on my non-existent nails and taught me how to file, paint and maintain them. Or how she taught me silly words like "diddle-lumps" which was a much more polite way of saying "boobs". Or how often she babysat for us, eating Tayto cheese and onion crisps and galaxy chocolate in one bite whilst playing Twister or Kerplunk! Or having her boyfriend write me a letter from Santa, because I had had a fight with a boy at school who insisted that Santa didn't exist and I came home so upset. But because I knew my parents and her hand writing and not wanting me to be upset, she got her then boyfriend to write me a letter from Santa. Boy did I shove that letter down that boys throat next day at school, lol (not literally of course!). Her affection for her nieces and nephews is as loving as any parents could be.
And my Uncle Paddy & Auntie Jennifer who have supported me in more ways than I could ever imagine. They took me and my brother, Jay down to their house every year for some fun, regardless of where they lived. So, be it Bangor, Scotland, Wicklow or wherever they lived, it never seemed any trouble for them to have us stay and spoil us rotten, even when Jennifer was heavily pregnant and was probably knackered with tearing after two excitable children. Nothing ever seems to be trouble for them. Their home is open to whomever wants to visit. You'll never meet a more welcoming pair. When they went on holidays, they always gave us their house for the 2 weeks so my family could get a holiday away. Nothing is ever a bother to them. I love nothing more than a good sing-a-long with my Uncle and listening to one of his funny stories, of which there are many. And Jennifer is always so welcoming and generous with her time and home. They have been so wonderful to me and to all my siblings. We are so lucky to have them in our lives.
Uncle Cathal & Auntie Bernie. Here is a man, that no matter how much I jumped about him, shouted "UNCLE CATHAL" at the top of my lungs and acted like a total idiot out in public in front of complete strangers, never once got embarrassed, upset or annoyed by my obnoxious behaviour. And the more I tried to embarrass him (in good humour of course), my Uncle Cathal always laughs and greets my madness with affection and acceptance. As soon as I need anything.....there is my Uncle Cathal, always happy to help. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have a floor to walk on in my home. But one request for his joinery skills and there he was in a flash to put down my floors in my new house. Nothing seems to be a bother for him.....even when I'm being a bother. You'll not meet a nicer gentleman than my Uncle Cathal. And Bernie, his wife with her quiet demeanour and glowing grace always has a smile, laugh and a little "Oh Lee" when I say something a little bold or cheeky, but is always completely accepting of who I am and what I am like. There isn't a thing these two wouldn't do for you. If I live my life having half the humility or being half as kind and considerate as these two wonderful people are, well then I'll be a happy camper. I only hope I will be as kind and generous as my Uncle Cathal and Auntie Bernie have been to me. I don't think they quite realise just how much they have graced my life with their loving presence.
My Uncle Morgan, although he lives in Turkey has always had a big influence in my life and has always supported me in my academic endeavours and everything I've ever wanted or tried to do. He encouraged my love of birds as a child by giving me a bird book and his very expensive binoculars to use for the weekend, even though he was only home for a short time and probably intended on using them himself on his many adventure walks into the Mourne Mountains. And to trust a 10 year old with those binoculars, didn't even spare him a thought. I like to think I've inherited his dry sense of humour too. And of course my love of pistachio nuts because he arrived home on one visit with the biggest bag of pistachios that I have ever seen, lol. Bless his cotton socks, he even proudly showed off my handmade wedding invitation to all the ladies at his school, even though it was early days in my crafting endeavours and they were probably a bit rubbish, lol. He always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do but never made me feel like a failure if things didn't quite go to plan. And although he lives in Turkey I know he is only a phone call away or a funny little email away, whenever I need him.
My Auntie Anne-Marie lived in Scotland for most of my life until a few years ago. However, the distant doesn't mean she didn't have any influence in my life. Thankfully My Auntie Anne-Marie now lives back in Northern Ireland but even when she lived in Scotland, she always had an open door whenever I wanted to visit. She encouraged my love of reading, patiently standing for what must have been over an hour as I strolled around Waterstone's and then Eason's, taking in as much as I could. And of course.....leaving with as many books as I could carry, kindly provided by Anne-Marie. She has the most amazing hearty laugh and a hug that just pulls you in so much that you never want to leave it. I remember vividly her showing me how to do the breast stroke in a swimming pool in Scotland, and how to do it properly without drowning myself, lol. And how she would raid her daughter's wardrobe and send me bags of the most amazing and gorgeous clothes, as I was 2 years younger than her daughter, Kerry.
My uncle Tony, well what can I say....Big T? Everything he did, I wanted to do. He is a successful actor and director in the South of Ireland. And boy did I want to be a Thespian, just like him. I was very active in acting and singing as a child, in school, the local dramatic society and entered as many acting and singing festivals and competitions as I could and that was all down to my Uncle Tony. His fantastic comedic sense of humour is addictive and when he sings, he could silence a room in seconds. He has incredible time and patience for children and gladly nurtured my desire to perform. I followed him about like a little shadow and he never once made me feel like I was a bother or a burden. And although I don't get to see him now as much as I'd like, he had a great hand in my overflowing confidence as a child. He instilled a sense of self-confidence in me that couldn't be shaken. I proudly got up on stage and sang and acted my little childhood heart out. I had a dress sense, that although was probably a little embarrassing to look back on now to say the least, I loved it and it was mine and no-one would tell me otherwise. If someone didn't like something I did, wore, liked or had, well that was their loss. He taught me not to conform and that it is perfectly ok to be different and not be a sheep like everyone else. So, I would proudly strut my stuff down the school corridors wearing my bright florescent green or orange socks, even though everyone else was wearing boring navy ones. And I didn't give a damn if they liked them or not, lol.
So, with all these wonderful Auntie's and Uncles, I've started to panic a bit wondering am I ready for the responsibility of being an Auntie, lol. What could I possibly have to offer these little lives that will be coming into my life very soon? I know I'm 35, but am I even mature enough to be an Auntie? Let's be honest here, I may be the oldest of all 5 children in my family......but even my 14 year old brother can be more mature than me and I'm not even joking. You should see my ridiculous hat collection that I have no problem with walking out in public in, teehee. I misbehave something shocking sometimes. Nothing bad of course.......just playing about and embarrassing my family in public in any way I can, lol. Or just acting like an eejit. But maybe they are perfect traits to have in an Auntie. Maybe I have nothing to worry about at all. Maybe I'm just being silly, after all I'm not going to be a parent so technically I can be the fun, silly Auntie who gets to do all the fun stuff without all the hard stuff, teehee. But just thinking about how my Aunts and Uncles had such a profound impact on my life, I only hope I will do as good a job with my nieces and nephews. And really, kids don't have expectations of grandeur, they just want to be loved and don't expect much more than that really. But reminiscing about my wonderful Aunts and Uncles, I'm thinking I have pretty massive shoes to fill. But I hope I will be able to take a little bit of each and every one of them and share that with my own nieces or nephews. I suppose, I can only do my best. And if I have a positive impact or influence on my nieces or nephews, even if its a fraction of how my own Aunts and Uncles have had on me, then I think I'll have done a good job. So roll on Spring 2016 and bring on the babies! I'm ready for you......dirty nappies and all, lol.
Thanks for stopping by folks.
Toodles Noodles..........Lee xx