Being an aunt away from my nieces & nephews can be a little bit tricky. Especially when there seems to be more & more kiddos every time I come back to PA. While we're apart, I try and buy their affection with numerous gifts and trinkets, but as I've said, when there are more & more of them, that too can be an overwhelming game. Really, we're at the point now where remembering birthdays is getting to be a challenge. Of course, my mind seems to be going in general, so that part is not surprising.
When I'm up visiting, I try and make time for each niece and nephew, if not one-on-one, at least in small groups. (it's all about the crowd control, people!). This trip, I got to introduce a few littles to the wonderful world that is Tractor Supply. What may seem like an everyday shopping stop is a whole new world to a few farm-minded small people when they get to climb on tractors (lawn mowers) and see all the cow paraphernalia.
I've noticed that things changed some this time around, too. We've got a whole bunch of littles (4 & under), but there are two not-so-littles. And one of them, you may know the stage, brought his friend to a family outing. Seriously! Before, it was always enough to get to see Aunt Mariah (*sniff sniff*) but it seems he is old enough now to need friends around now to play with and make inappropriate noises at and do all of those pre-teen boy things together. Apparently I'm not that good at armpit fart noises. Who knew?!
In order to retain the affection of the other not-so-little, we had a girls night at the drive-in movies, complete with a snack bar purchase, playing tag, and her falling asleep 2 miles from her house. In a word: magical. She kept telling me how many hours/minutes past her bedtime it was. Might have been my favorite night of the whole visit.
Sometimes this whole letting-them-grow-up thing is difficult, especially when they grow so much between visits. I guess it's time for me to get to know them at the ages they are currently, rather than pining for 4 years ago when they were so cute and chubby and impressed with my ability to whistle. Or I'll start making noises with my armpits, either way.
Got any tips for me? How to stay close when you're so very far away? I'd love to know if/how you do it!
Wishing for more cotton candy,