“Thank you, Auntie Jane, that was a very useful conversation we just had,” says my nephew as we lay side by side in hammock on my recent visit to Florida. Bemused, I accepted the compliment in stride as evaluating all the other “non-useful conversations” we’ve had this week will just lead nowhere useful to the enjoyment of this little moment of relationship. Seeing the look of satisfaction on my nephew’s face, my niece hops into the hammock as her brother vacates to see if she can derive the same “usefulness” from me.
Reveling in my sister’s hospitality and generosity, I have been spoiled to enjoy this particular visit alone. Usually attended by my children who capture the complete attention of my nephews and niece with their ability to do everything amazing and teenagerly, this visit I left the competition at home and have appreciated the opportunity to connect with them.
Setting my intention for this visit, I committed to follow the little openings that life with children allow in order to get to know them all a little bit better. Some of them are more eager to connect then others, and I had to make sure that I took advantage of every moment whether they were convenient for me or not.
I am happy to say that I have succeeded in my intention. These delightful little souls of curiosity and joy have made me laugh, be patient and listen, but most of all remind me of the gifts of living with an open heart.
Intentions are like donning a pair of glasses and choosing which way I want to view the world. Do I don the ones that show every wrinkle in harsh detail or do I choose the rose-tinted lens that bring a hue of sunshine and brightness? I wish I could say I always choose the rose-tinted lens, but instead of beating myself up for my flaws, I will celebrate my wins…and this trip was one of them.
Useful or not, from my perspective, it is indeed an honor to be “Auntie Jane.”