In the interests of fairness, I’ll start by saying that AM has seven uncles and I’m sure they’d all be contenders for the nomination of World’s Best Uncle but as six of them live a long way away from us, only one has had a chance to compete for this prestigious title. Not that it’s a competition; it’s just a fact, in my view, that one of my older brothers – dubbed WBU for this blog – has been a fantastic uncle not only to AM but also to his half-siblings.
He has been a major contender for the WBU since the birth of our first niece in 1970; he’s always been popular with his nieces and nephews, although as they’ve all lived in the country he hasn’t had the opportunity to shine, in the way that he has with AM and co.
In our case, it started with AM’s birth – I think he was the first person on the spot after delivery, and from that day on, we have had a regular date every week for playtime, dinner, outings and more recently C++ consultations and discussions on quantum theory. Illness and travel have been the only interruptions to our routine. He has been a fantastic support to me and a constant, positive, loving influence in AM’s life. He’s also had regular, though less frequent visits with DadaK and the rest of the family, with the result that the children have all known and adored him since they were infants. He’s helped me take them on bike-rides and to the beach, visits their place for lunch & cuddles with the little ones, records movies off TV and troubleshoots computer and Wii problems for the older ones. He has tirelessly pushed every one of them on swings.
At the moment, though, the children aren’t seeing so much of him, and the outings have slowed almost to a halt, because he was diagnosed with cancer last year and hasn’t been well. The prognosis is reasonably hopeful but it’s still been a hard six months – chemo, major surgery, and now radiotherapy on the horizon as well. So now it’s our turn to support him, and show him just how much we care.