My brother asked me to keep his two boys for a couple of days this week. They are on summer holiday and have decided that they no longer need to go to summer camp so their divorced parents are shuffling them in order to juggle their demanding jobs. Part of the shuffle defaulted to me since I am only a mile down the road, an aging boomer and not working, so presumably available to my nephews. I am used to this presumption since I have lived with it all my mothering life, the fact that they are blood, which is thicker than water, made the question and presumption rhetorical.
From my second hand experience of these two boys they come expensive. My brother is always taking them out, for meals, to the cinema, exhibits, concerts, shopping to buy clothes, swimming, theme parks…oh the list of activities is endless. I imagined my pockets to be emptied and my debit card to be rubbed raw with their demands to be entertained in the manner to which they are accustomed. Not having the money, I further imagined them being thoroughly bored with my idea of a perfect day unfurling in the house of Auntie Vivienne and Uncle Lawwy.
I was nervous. I had my best Aunt reputation to keep up but I also had a budget. They brought their Raza scooters which proved indispensable, tireless, companions for two, young, energetic boys. When they were picked up in the evening my brother asked them if they had had a good day?
“Yes, it was wonderful!” said the eldest.
“Well, what did you do, where did you go?” he prodded.
“Oh, we didn’t do anything, but it was a lot of fun!” said the youngest helpfully!
Not doing anything entailed:
Scootering for a couple of hours on the steep approach to the flat garages, supervised of course, they managed quite an impressive speed going down the hill and probably broke some records!
Travelling by tram to a town where there was a produce market to buy more apples than a tree could bear!
Eating a wholesome lunch of fruit and ice cream outside in the sunshine.
Scootering to the park and playing for another two hours.
Chowing down on an ice cream, oops, ice cream twice in a day? Best Aunt in the world reputation to maintain!
Accompanying me, again on their scooters, to the library where I imagined books like Amelia Bedelia and Henry and Mudge to be snapped up for me to read to them; coming home instead with graphic novels which they read to themselves.
Eating a big dinner before being bundled off home by their father, my brother, completely exhausted by not doing anything!
The next day unfurled in much the same way, more scootering with obstacle courses this time, ice cream at the park while it was still morning, cheese and biscuits with fruit, outside in the garden for lunch, more scootering, chocolate biscuits as a pick me up half way through the afternoon, then pizza and hotdogs in the evening to finish them off before heading to their Mum’s with their father, my brother.
We waved goodbye from the driveway and heard shouts of,
“Bye Auntie Vivienne and Uncle Lawwy, I love you, thanks for a wonderful time, and for the meals!”
Malia, restored to her rightful place as the centre of attention, told her brothers on Skype,
“They ate fruit for lunch, outside; went to the library with Mum, voluntarily; played in the garden, all day; didn’t whine to watch television, at all…we kids are going to be elbowed out of the picture by these boys if we’re not careful!”
Best Aunt with most favoured nephews! Beware progeny, you may be ousted!