For my nephew

lil j

Five years ago my first nephew was born. July 29th, 2010, John David Sprandio III came into the world. I had just graduated college a few months before. At a time where I was unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, the birth of this little guy made one thing certain for me, no matter what I did, I wanted to make him proud. The first time I looked at him, the first time I held him, I had this feeling of responsibility to be the best I could be. I know I’ve mentioned this in earlier posts, (I’m being repetitive, what a surprise), but becoming an aunt has been one of the greatest roles I’ve taken on in my life.

The first two years of lil John’s life, I was doing freelance work and in graduate school. I was fortunate enough to be able to help my mom babysit him. I was with him at least once a week. I had been around babies before when I was younger, but this was different. I was more of a grown up. I was the first of most of my friends to have a nephew. Some nights I had a decision to make, do I want to go out with my friends or do I want to help babysit. I almost always chose babysitting over going out a lot! I was surprised at myself. I’m often one who is game to go out on the town. But spending even two hours with that little guy was better than anything.

Watching him grow has been an awesome journey. It amazes me how much he has learned during his short time here, but it amazes me even more the things I have learned from him. He’s taught me to have fun with life and to enjoy the simple things. He’s retaught me the importance of family. I’ve always believed family is of the utmost importance. But we all have phases in our lives when we think it’s uncool to hang out with family or you think you have better things to do. I was in my early twenties when he was born, so I was still in that phase of “I’m too cool” and I’d rather go out to the bars with my girl friends. But being with him made me realize, being with family was still cool. He helped me start to grow up.

When I would meet new people, one of the first things I would tell them is, “I have a nephew named John.” I would immediately whip out my phone and show photos.

John was just over a year old when I met Zach. He has grown up knowing him and he loves him. That was a plus. I told Zach, if little John doesn’t approve then I don’t approve. Zach is really good with all three of them and it’s very sweet to see.

Five years has flown by so fast. And in that time two more intelligent, hilarious, beautiful kids have come around. Grace and Leo amaze me just as much as John does. They each have unique personalities and I have developed a unique relationship with each one of them. These are relationships I greatly cherish. These kids mean the world to me. I am so fortunate I am to be able to be around them so much.

If you have kids in your life, nieces and nephews, your own children, or children of your friends, spend time with them, play with them, and listen to them. They say the funniest stuff. And as much as we teach them, they teach us so much more without even trying.

Come September, my other older brother and his wife will have a baby. There will be another little Sprandio running around and once again I am starting to feel that feeling of a new responsibility emerge. I am already feeling that I want to make this new one proud. I want to develop a unique relationship with them, and hope that they will get to know me the way the other three do.

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