February 14, 2012

Gunka Trips

Sometimes I like to stop and try to look at things through the littles' eyes, wondering what sort of memories different activities and events will form. How will Joy remember these days of attempting kindergarten together? Will her skating lessons this winter affect how she approaches every other new challenge (she has AWESOME teachers, BTW - props to the Albany Skating Club)? Will Grace remember all the cuddles and snuggles and us listening to her wild stories, or will all that fade as she grows older?

I have some memories from childhood that stand out with brilliant clarity; some that have faded so much I need others to bring them up. Then there are the stories other people tell which I KNOW, from other memories, cannot possibly be true (no, Auntie, I NEVER got scolded for choking on a too-big bite and eating too fast - I couldn't have, because #1, that's not the sort of thing Dad would have scolded me for, and #2, I was always such a slow eater that by the time I went to kindergarten Mom was worried I'd starve because I wouldn't eat my lunch in enough time. So there).

So, so many of my memories revolve around my extended family. All the aunts and uncles and cousins, and the great-aunts and great-uncles, too. 

One of my younger uncles - Dad is the firstborn of eight, he comes sixth in line - has made a point of visiting us for a few days once a year, ever since Joy was very little. So many of my early childhood memories are around doing fun things with the younger uncles and aunts - going to the county fair, early morning trips to the local bakery for maple eclairs, babysitting adventures and watching The Princess Bride, etc. So it is especially peculiar for me to put myself in my children's shoes as I watch them interact with "Gunka" (short for great-uncle - he chose the nickname, but the girls often tease him by changing it to Gunkie). He is no longer the uncle just out of high school, hanging out and having fun, but he still make a point to visit and do fun things, to be a part of their lives as much as he can. How will they remember these days when they are grown? Will he be Grandpa's fun and funny younger brother (I have a couple of those, since my grandfather is also the oldest of eight), or will he be more, almost a glorified uncle, since they only have one actual uncle right now? Or am I overthinking it too much, will they just accept him as a part of their lives without ever classifying their memories of him?

However it goes, I'm excited to find out, someday.

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