The Pied Piper

Tom has some magical pull on children. They flock to him. They adore him.

He’s great with kids, but it’s something more than that. It’s not just that he plays with them or that he pays attention to them when they talk to him. I know it’s more because as soon as any of my nephew or nieces could speak, “Tom” was one of the first aunts’ or uncles’ names they learned.

In fact, I cease to exist to them from about ten months of age until about three years. Yes, they let me hold them, play with them, love on them. Yes, they respond to me. But I literally could be a total stranger when compared to Tom, even though I am the one they are related to by blood.

When Tyler was really little, he was so used to seeing me and Tom together that if I walked into the room on my own, Tyler would burst into tears and say, “But..where’s Toooom???” It did great things for my self-esteem, lemme tell ya.

After Madeline was born and grew old enough to show she favored Tom as well, it became something of a joke in our family. And it was repeated for a time with Anna Kate.

Now I’m seeing it with Violet as well. When I was over at their house last Friday, Lisa and I were pointing to different members of our family in a picture and asking Violet to name them. When Lisa pointed to me, this sweet little girl, sitting in my lap, was silent for a moment. Then she looked at who was next to me in the picture and said, “TOM!”


Lisa and I just looked at each other and burst into laughter. It’s happening again.

But of all the nephews and nieces, the one who still is just in love with her uncle the most is definitely Madeline.

They’re buds. Always have been. She has him wrapped around her little finger.

He loves all of our nephews and nieces, but she has always shown a definite love for her Uncle Tom that hasn’t evened out a bit. He dreads the day she gets old enough that “it’s not cool” to show that you love your family. I don’t think that day will come for her. She’s very sweet and always finds a lap to crawl into and cuddle up. I don’t think her Uncle Tom will ever see her finding him embarrassing.

When we were engaged, she was very excited about being our flower girl and having a pretty dress. She said to me and to Lisa that at the reception, “Tom will dance me around the room.” And I said, “Who will I dance with, Madeline?” I think she said I could dance with Tyler. I’m lucky she didn’t hog-tie me in the back of the church and try to marry him herself. I laugh just remembering this next picture.

She was none to happy when her dance with Tom was interrupted. The band wanted us to do something, and he had to end their dance early. You can see for yourself how she felt about that.

But she’s not so little anymore.

This December, she’ll be 6 years old. I can’t believe how much she’s grown.

Lisa, Jonathan, and the kids have all moved much closer to where we live, and I think we’ve seen them more since May than we had during the entire year before. We love it.

And I think I know at least one other person who doesn’t mind living close by either.


13 thoughts on “The Pied Piper”

  1. My nephews think I’m awesome because I can name pretty much every pokemon and it’s stats AND that I can whip out my DS and battle them.

    Did I just admit that on the internet?

    Well, my excuse is that I’ve been playing those games since I was like 12, so I don’t mind dipping into that little bit of nostalgia while I have the chance .

    My nieces prefer my brother. Probably because they can boss him around even though they’re 2 feet tall and he’s 6’7.

    Surprisingly, I’m not that much of a kid person but I definitely dig hanging with my little underlings. I mean… nieces and nephews.

    1. No wonder they love you so much! My nephew just wants us to watch him play nintendo. And if Tom is playing his DS, Tyler likes to look over his shoulder and comment on everything. Tom doesn’t love that part. It makes me laugh. =)

      As far as them being bossy, well, who wouldn’t want to boss around a giant man? That sounds like great fun to me.

  2. I submit the following as counter-evidence:

    Once, when I was a young pup of 5 years, Tom wasn’t very nice to me. BUT WAIT — the story continues!

    Later in life, I realized that I was actually a cat, and Tom really helped me get through that mid-life crisis. We decided the bury the hatchet under a bridge, and the rest is history.

    Tom for President!

  3. Don’t forget his cousins either…Who did I have to thank for Shane growing his hair past his shoulders?;-) Seriously, Tom, Ben, Eli and Seth have no idea how often they’re used as examples in discussions with my boys. I told Tommy this summer how eternally (and selfishly) grateful I am that the four of them did not go the pierced/tattooed route. The four of them are the reason my boys LOVE to go to the reunion every summer.

    1. Aww! I’m so glad to hear that. I know Tom loves seeing them and playing baseball each year also.

      Yeah, thank the Lord that the long-haired phase is over for Tom. Ick.

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