Sunday, November 10, 2013

Becoming a Savvy Uncle

As a member of the group of experts, I am periodically asked to contribute blog posts to, the website created by Melanie Notkin. Since I am not an aunt myself (and never plan to be one), I often write about an aunt or uncle of mine or even my kids' aunt. In my recent blog post for I wrote about how excited I am to finally, God willing, become an uncle:

I was one of the first guys among my friends to become a daddy. And fatherhood has dominated my life in a great way over the past decade. With three kids I often forget what my life was even like BC (before children).

While I'm very content begin a father, there has been something missing. I've been watching my friends become uncles for years. Even though I cherish my relationship with each of my kids, I've been eagerly awaiting “unclehood.” You see, my relationship with my late uncle was a special one. For ten years before Uncle Jerry had kids of his own I got to play basketball and tennis with him, go for long bike rides, and attend professional hockey games. He taught me to do fun things. He gave me my first summer job. And he always treated me a little older than I actually was – something uncles are supposed to do. Even as Uncle Jerry got children of his own, we still had that special uncle-nephew relationship. There are just things that uncles can do that dads can’t.

Jerry Gudes
With my Uncle Jerry

Well, now after many years of patiently (and sometimes impatiently) waiting, my sister-in-law is expecting. And that means I'm going to be an uncle! I'm so excited about this new title and with it the responsibility of being a great uncle to this child. I have a to-do list of fun things to do with my niece or nephew (we're not sure which it is yet). I’m looking forward to being the cool uncle this child will look up to learn new things from. Maybe it’s just the idea of this new relationship or being called “uncle”.

If there’s one thing that Melanie Notkin has taught me, it’s that an aunt (or uncle in my case) has the ability to define the relationship. There are aunts and uncles who don't have the time for their nieces or nephews and then there are aunts and uncles who go above-and-beyond. As I prepare for this new role in my life, it’s my goal to be a Savvy Uncle. What fun times to look forward to!

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