I’ll be honest with my journey to 50 followers who care about my progress: My food intake today was dismal. Bacon and potatoes for breakfast. Tuna salad sandwich and chips for lunch. McDonald’s cheeseburger for supper with a small fries. A chicken thigh for a late night snack and a beer to wash it down. I’m not proud of who I am but I’m learning to accept failure from time to time.
While my food intake was bad, my personal interactions couldn’t have been better.
A couple days ago, I received a text from a wonderful young woman asking, “Uncle Curt…” can you come to the program this Friday night? That same day I got another message from another dear woman that I consider my adopted daughter, “Can you babysit our kids?”
Of course, we couldn’t say no to any of these requests.
And so, today was a day that was filled with giving to others and I was so blessed by each interaction. At work, one woman shared with me her concerns for her marriage and her career…not necessarily in that order of importance. One teen expressed pain over hard choices and living with family. Another person spoke with me at length about their mother’s diagnosis and treatment options. And in the evening I was excited to celebrate the creative talents of my “niece” and “nephew”. Mia led us all in song and Javi performed with an amazing group of puppeteers.
But I had one final stop before my day was done. I drove to the house, walked in the door and found two girls playing with my daughter and a lap full of toys. The girls’ noses were still painted from earlier when they were dressed as cows for a free meal at Chick-fil-A. They gyrated their legs and arms in ways that only a three year old can accomplish without dislocation. They danced. They giggled like little girls…which is fine because they are little girls.
Instantly, I became a fairy godmother granting them wishes, turning one girl into a cow and giving the other little one red hair. We then compared our knowledge of the Cinderella movie and soon were wrestling over the Mary Poppins DVD. From there we moved to who could count to 10 which quickly evolved into two rounds of hide and seek (which should be called “Here I Am!”). We then stepped outside to play.
I realized after a few minutes on the slide and swing that this might be a mistake. We were only moments away from preparing them for their assigned bed time. Rather than calming them down, we were working them up. We were laughing, climbing, running. We should have been reading, bathing and cuddling. But “Uncle Curt” couldn’t resist.
Finally, the smarter Curt prevailed over Uncle Curt. As we returned to the house and climbed the steps to prepare for bed time, there were more giggling and requests for pajamas that had butterflies on them. This, of course, I could not produce. There was one clean top with said butterflies and I don’t have the wisdom of Solomon and so they had to wear what their mother laid out.
We brushed teeth, made one last stop to the bathroom to go potty and then snuggled in for the reading of the Bedtime Book of their choice. Hailey read her own book and Addie selected a 64-page nursery rhyme lexicon that required the reader to carry a tune and fill in the blanks where some little ornery girl had ripped out pages (both girls claimed responsibility for this).
As I tucked Addie under the covers, she rolled to her back and looked me in the eye and said with a quiet, sincere voice, “Will you come back, Mr. Austin?”
Now how can a guy resist that? I leaned down and in a soft voice replied, “We will always come back whenever you ask.” And then I blessed them both, kissed them on the forehead and turned off the light.
I could get use to this Uncle gig.