Sunday, May 5, 2013

They made something I love

Almost 20 years ago, as the wife an I prepared to solemnize our nuptials, my sister in law waddled down the aisle. I say waddled because she was, at the time, great, with child.

Notice the comma. She was, and is "great." It just so happens that at the time, she was also pregnant. I made the mistake, a few months earlier, of saying that she was "as big as a house." I thought it was funny, charming, accurate and funny. She was, much like the queen of England, ready to cut off my head. I apologized in grand fashion and we have over the years, moved past this faux pas and reached an understanding. I'm a fool and she tolerates me, mostly because she is great. It's nice.

That child-in-the-womb-in-law eventually saw daylight and became cute. She was the first baby I really watched grow up. The wife and I heard her say all sorts of cute things and watched her do the kinds of things that little kids do (75% based in gross bodily functions, 15% in falling down and the remaining 10% in learning calculus). And she grew up. We watched her go through all her phases, from cute baby to precocious toddler to lovable preteen to precocious teenager to serious student to precocious collegiate. She took on responsibilities, and became, much like her parents, "great."

Last week, I heard through the virtual grapevine that she had found the man who completes her. She had decided that she, too, wanted to solemnize her nuptials -- to bind herself to a young gentleman who is the one whom her heart has chosen. Good for her, I thought. She really is growing up, and the odds are that her mother won't be pregnant at the wedding.

But then I thought about her life trajectory. There is, I realized, a slight chance that, with a wedding in 3 months, in a year or so, she might be ready to pop with one of her own. She will make a fabulous mother, no doubt -- she is smart and wise, patient and loving. She has helped raise her siblings and she has so much to give. So that's not a problem. Except that it would turn my parents (whom I still see through the eyes of a teenager) into great-grandparents. Well, OK. I guess that happens. It would turn her parents into grandparents. That started to register as problematic. My brother can still beat me up. He isn't anyone's grampa. And it would turn me into a great uncle.

No quotes, no comma. A great uncle. What?

Since when did I get to the point in my life when I could be a great uncle? This is unacceptable. I wear sneakers and jeans. I eat cereal while sitting cross legged on the floor in front of the television. I like bathroom humor. I can't be a great anything. And why would my brother get to be a "grand" parent and I'm just "great"? Does he wear a white robe and hood? Is he great at chess? Is he a street in Englewood? His encouraging his daughter to have a baby would be his self-aggrandizing. That's as much joke as I can muster about this very, very serious topic. I'm too young to be old and too old to start being great now.

So Tasha, my blessing to you is that you should grow older but never old and you should have as much nachas from people as you have allowed others to have from you. And that you should enjoy making fun of you father for being old but always be nice to me because I'm already great.

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