>Five years ago…

>Five years ago today, my family changed forever.

I was sitting at my desk at work when I got a call from my sister.

“The baby is on the way,” she said, calmly. She and my brother-in-law were headed home to grab all the baby-stuff and then heading over to Knoxville. They were adopting a baby girl and the birth-mother had gone into labor.

I recall my sister saying, “We’re going to have a baby,” with a tinge of excitment and joy in her voice.

She told me they’d call me with updates and when they got closer. And that they wanted me to come and keep them company in the waiting area of the hospital. I was honored and said I’d see them in a few hours. I also asked for calls to update me on the progress of things.

I got a call an hour or so later. Things were taking a bit longer than expected, so I didn’t have to hurry. Go home, eat dinner, swim some laps and then meet them at the hospital. It could be some time before my niece arrived.

I swam but honestly, my heart wasn’t in it. I kept wondering if I was missing something important…what if my neice came right then, in the middle of a lap and I missed the call?

I did have to go home and grab the digital camera. An uncle has to be prepared, right?

Luckily that didn’t happen. I arrived at the hospital to find a waiting room full of family and friends. We sat together, passing the time, talking and catching up, listening as if we could somehow hear the baby’s first cries. After a few hours, a nurse came down and took my sister and brother-in-law up to a room. The baby had arrived, everything was fine and they wanted to give them some time to meet her. They were escorted away and we were all left to wait. It was late, but I don’t think sleep was on anyone’s mind.

After about an hour, the nurse came down again and said they were ready for the family to come up and see the baby. I took a deep breath (I am not a fan of hospitals, but surprisingly this visit wasn’t bugging me….) and we went up to a room. The door opened and I walked in…and saw my sister holding a baby.

I took a mental picture of that moment. There was my sister, my baby sister, holding a baby. You could see the instant bonding of mother and child happening and I thought, “Wow, my baby sister has a baby…” I looked over at my brother in law and saw the same sense of wonder, awe and instant love as he looked at this tiny person who would radically and forever change their lives…and the live of our entire family.

I stayed about an hour with them. I took tons of pictures of my neice’s first hours of life. I wanted to hold her but I didn’t want to intrude on my sister and brother-in-law’s first few hours with G. After a while, the adrenaline wore off and I felt sleepiness settling in. I excused myself, went home and crashed…

The next day, I woke up at my regular time (stupid internal alarm clock!). I went into work for a half-day, most of it spent uploading pictures of my neice to my Yahoo! photos account to send to family and friends. I went back that afternoon to see everyone and got to hold my neice for the first time . She was so quiet and so tiny…but the second I held her, it was too late. I was wrapped around her little finger…I’d do literally anything for her.

That was five years ago. I can’t believe that G is turning five years old today. It seems like just yesterday, I was meeting her for the first time and I’ve turned around twice and now she’s five. I blink twice and she’ll be driving if I’m not careful.

So, happy birthday to my neice, G. Thank you for making me an uncle (again…I am Uncle Michael to my best friend’s children…which is an absolute honor).

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