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Where Has the Time Gone?

June 10, 2012
Niece and Son #2 at Three Months Old

At Three Months

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my ‘fear’ of becoming a grandmother before I’m ready to take on that role (although I’m not sure anyone is every ‘really ready’ to admit they’re old enough to be called ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandpa’).  Shortly afterwards, in one of those weird twists of fate that you just don’t see coming, my (younger) brother emailed to let me know that his oldest daughter is pregnant. She is expecting her first child – my brother and sister-in-law’s first grandchild – in December.  I’ve been trying to get my head around this surprisingly wonderful news ever since.

First Birthday

The “twins” first birthday

My niece’s child won’t be the first ‘great’ niece or nephew to be delivered into the family. My eldest brother’s first-born has a boy who is only a year younger than my second son, and a daughter two years younger than that (i.e., they’re now in their twenties); his second born has four teenage girls.  Two of my oldest sister’s boys have also produced offspring (two girls to the eldest; one boy to her third son).  I only see my brother’s grandchildren at occasional family events (and much less frequently as the years pass), and I have never met my sister’s grandchildren (they live in California and Japan respectively).  Being a ‘great-aunt’ to children that I don’t see regularly (or at all) has never seemed to me to be that big of a deal – even though it’s really only one step away from being a grandmother.  But my niece’s pregnancy has hit much closer to home – because she just happens to be the same age as my youngest son (in actual fact, she is two days older than him) and the two of them quite literally grew up together.

Kissin' Cousins

Kissin’ Cousins

I still remember my sister-in-law calling to tell me she was pregnant, and me replying: “So am I!”  Oddly enough, the names we had chosen (for both a girl and a boy) were eerily similar (Lori/Laura, Ryan/Brian); to avoid any confusion (and since it was her first pregnancy and my second), I chose to go with my ‘alternates’ (it turned out it wouldn’t have been a problem, since she had a girl and I had a boy, but, of course, we had no way of knowing that at the time).  Even though my son was ‘scheduled’ to be delivered (by C section) in early May, he decided he didn’t want to wait, and I found myself in the hospital at the same time as my sister-in law. I think my niece and my son began their close relationship as soon as they were placed side by side in the hospital nursery. 

With Grammy and Grampa

With Grammy and Grampa (2 years)

Niece #1 and son #2 were practically inseparable when they were young.  There were many family weekends spent at my parents’ house (in a beach community on Lake Huron), shared birthday parties and play care activities, and my sister-in-law and I regularly swapped child care ‘services’.  It wasn’t unusual for people to compliment us on how cute ‘the twins’ were; whenever that happened to me, I would explain that they weren’t twins, they were cousins.  The ‘assumption’ then followed that ‘the girl’ was mine; my niece definitely favoured my side of the family (my son looks more like me now than he did then!)   When they were little, they even had their own language – no one else knew what they were babbling about, but they understood one another quite well.

Little Hula Dancers

Little Hula Dancers (2 years old)

They had their own games, too. They’d put on ‘puppet shows’ from behind the patio swing on their grandparents’ deck, then end up throwing the puppets around in a fit of giggles and laughter.  They’d dress up in whatever they could find, and act out elaborate plays – sometimes for a grownup audience, oftentimes just to amuse themselves.  When they got older, they’d spend hours recording ‘nonsense’ on tape, and playing it back over and over and over again. The summer they were twelve, they jointly ‘babysat’ their grandmother (we sent them to her house for a week while my Dad went out west to visit my sister; Mom had decided she didn’t want to fly); while they were there, they painted dozens of rocks and pieces of driftwood with whatever paint was available (mostly mauves and purples) and brought them home (I still have some in my garden)!  They could always find something to amuse themselves with, even if the adults never quite understood what they were up to.

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauties

These pictures are how I still think of my niece. I know she’s a grown woman now – I watched the transition take place (although I saw less and less of her as she became a teenager and she and my son drifted apart), and I was at her wedding three years ago, where she was absolutely the most radiant and beautiful bride imaginable.  Still, I ‘see’ her as that little girl with the bright smile and the curls who giggled and laughed and played silly games with my son, who many times didn’t want to leave my house to go home, and who was occasionally mistaken for the daughter I never had.  So it’s very hard for me to imagine her being old enough to have a child of her own.

Backyard Fun Preschool Field Trip Reading With Grammy

I’m extremely happy for my niece and her husband (and for my brother and sister-in-law, who are about to become grandparents for the first time), and I’m excited about the prospect of another baby coming into the family.  But I honestly can’t help wondering where the time has gone, and what the next big step is going to be on this crazy journey through … the other side of 55.

Celebrating 100 Posts

  1. Cathy permalink
    June 10, 2012 9:50 pm

    Such wonderful memories. You were just telling me about the two of them doing the houla for your parents, I think at their anniversary. Anyway, they were lucky to be so close. And congratulations on 100 posts! It seems impossible! Here’s to the next 100!

    • June 10, 2012 10:44 pm

      They sure were cute, weren’t they? And I’m definately moving on to the next 100.


  2. June 10, 2012 8:27 pm

    Congrats to your niece and her hubby…and to your brother and his wife…and also–what a great looking cake you had for your 100th blog post! I want a cake….and I don’t even care for cake that much…how come I didn’t get a cake…I deserve a cake, don’t I? Have I mentioned that I am jealous of your cake? Great cake, by the way….

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