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.