Monday, March 06, 2017

How to uncle

1. If you have a niece and she's wearing stripes, tell her you like her polka-dots. Instant giggles.
2. If you have a nephew, say underpants. Instant giggles.
3. Throw your niece and nephew in the air every day until they're too heavy to lift. It makes them laugh, it physicalizes the immense responsibility that you have for their safety and well-being, and it's a great deltoid workout.
4. It's your job to teach your niece and nephew bad jokes and buy them funny hats and steal their noses and sneak quarters into their piggy banks and give them silly nicknames and keep their secrets. Accept these sacred responsibilities with utmost solemnity and dedication.
5. Always have gum.
6. Never turn down an invitation to a tea party or a game of tag or a visit to the doll hospital or a tiger-catching safari in the back yard.
7. Know their clothing sizes.
8. Know their friends' names, both real and imaginary.
9. Talk to a financial planner and open a 529 College Savings Account for each child you uncle. It's like an IRA for any education expense. I opened one for my niece and one for my nephew soon after they were born and auto-deposited $25 a month in each account. And now I'm able to give my nephew almost $10,000 when he leaves for college in the fall.
10. Make sure your nieces and nephews know in their heads and their hearts and their memories and in the very foundation of who they are that every day of their lives from their first gasp of breath to their first orchestra concert to the day they leave for college to their first broken heart to their every day walking this earth that no matter what and no matter where and no matter when your presence in their lives will never waver and they can always always always count on the knowledge that they are loved that they are loved that they are loved.

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