Luke, I Am Your Aunt

Luke, I Am Your Aunt

I’m in a new place lately, and it takes me awhile to get comfortable in a new place.

My oldest nephew graduated high school last week. I’m so proud of him! He’s always been a very articulate person, very smart, very solid in where he stood and not a victim of peer pressure. (When he was a little boy, we called it ‘stubborn’ and ‘tantrums’.)

It’s no surprise that he is going to college to become an on-air sports announcer. He was picked to be the narrator for a class play one year and he was younger than all of the students in the play. He’s always had very good diction and his voice deepened into a great announcer’s voice. People are surprised to see his handsome, young face after hearing him announce a football game.

My twist on the famous movie quote comes in here. I’ve missed his high school years, after moving away from my hometown. I hate that. See, he’s the reason I moved back to SC from California. I hated missing my sister-in-law’s pregnancy and I didn’t want to be his weird aunt from Los Angeles who came home every once in awhile, but wasn’t really part of his life. And I wanted to have a family of my own and for my child, or children, to grow up around cousins and aunts and  uncles like I had. That’s just normal to me. Unfortunately, life didn’t listen to me. Again. But that little boy was my first baby love. I mean, the sun just rose and set with him. I’ve still got little cars I bought just for him to have when he grew up, because he loved his Hot Wheels cars so much when he was little.  When anyone else finds them I tell them, nope. Those are for Luke.

I used to do little odd jobs for my brother and sister in law, and I’d plan those days around times I could pick Luke up from preschool, or take him to the park or something. The first Junie B. Jones book I read was one night when I was babysitting him and read the entire book to him while he was playing with his Hot Wheels cars. I laughed  more than he did!

The day his little brother was born, I took Luke to school that morning while my sister in law and brother went to the hospital. I got him out at lunchtime and we went to the hospital to meet the baby. He used to love to ride with me, he called my little red Nissan 240-SX a race car.

He used to go to work with my mother and play under her desk as she carried out her chief park ranger duties. His first flight in an airplane was with Grandma Pat (my mom) on his birthday to Disney World. She had even bought him Mickey Mouse luggage. He was the sweetest, cutest little thing walking along side of her at the airport.

One Christmas, he picked out a magnetic doodling board for my daughter because he remembered when I’d draw pictures on his and leave it with his toys somewhere in the house after I’d cleaned up, as a surprise. He wanted his little cousin to have that same experience.

After Mama passed away, my brother told me that Luke had been very quiet and then he said that he had been thinking about those days he had spent with Grandma Pat in her office, and the things they had done together, and he felt sad for his younger brother and cousins because they’d never have the chance to spend that much time with her. My heart was bursting with pride and love, that a 16 year old would be that thoughtful and caring towards the younger ones, and that he really treasured that time spent with her.

Now he’s going off to college. He graduated with some big honors and scholarships, and I keep hearing Mama’s voice in my head saying, “There’s my baby boy!” “I’m so PROUD of you!”  and “Now, Luke, is there anything you need? Do you know who your roommate will be? Do you know where you’ll be eating your meals? When do you have to move in?”

So, this summer, my prime directive is to see my sweet, handsome, loving, tall, intelligent, determined nephew and remind him – “Luke. I am your aunt. And I love you as much as any aunt possibly could.”



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