Every morning, now I am settling in my new home, my nephew (elsewhere written about as Smiley Boy) comes looking for me in the mornings. Maybe not as soon as he arrives, but as soon as breakfast is being prepared, he searches me out. Breakfast isn't complete without Aunt Crissy sitting beside him.
Yesterday morning, after breakfast, I was pulled into the living room. Smiley Boy's morning TV shows were on, and he wanted me to watch with him. I sat in one corner of the couch, and he tucked in beside me, under my arm, leaning against my side.
I am still busy with all the work of moving, but when I'm off doing something boring like moving boxes around or sorting out belongings, I get frequent reminders from a short person that work is not as much fun as playing, and the short person would be more than happy to demonstrate this in practical ways, if I would see my way clear to joining him.
At lunchtime, I certainly receive a gentlemanly call (if by "gentlemanly" you understand I mean "pulling on one's arm while yelling 'come ON!'") from Smiley Boy, because lunchtime is not complete without Aunt Crissy sitting beside him.
In the early afternoon, there is often a call to play some iPad games. Technology is wonderful, when you share it with a friend.
Smiley Boy is not feeling very well this week, so he has been more on the cuddly side than usual. He's an affectionate kid, don't get me wrong, but a nearly-four-year-old has a lot of serious playing to do. There isn't always time to stop for a big squishy hug from the old people; this is just business, you understand. Tick-tock. Toy cars don't play with themselves. But Smiley Boy is more tired than usual, and so he comes looking for hugs a little more frequently, and is more likely to want to sit down with one of the old people for a rest. His Grammy is very good for sitting with, but sometimes he wants Aunt Crissy instead. How can Aunt Crissy refuse? More to the point, why would she want to?
Being here with my parents, where Smiley Boy spends his days, makes it a lot harder to wonder if I matter. I'm needed. Smiley Boy doesn't outright say it ... but then again, he says it all the time. Just not in words.