|This is not really me and Squeak.|
I've really only spent time with Squeak a handful of times since he was born. Each time I see him, it is like he is a new version of himself. There was the 2-week-old Squeak I first visited when my mom and I made a last-minute trip out to California after he was born, the little Squeak who I could hold in my arms while he slept. Then there was the 4-month-old Squeak, a pudgy baby who would belly laugh when I made silly sounds to him, who would smile and kick his legs like crazy when I made the mobile above his bed spin around, who had colic and would cry incessantly while I paced back and forth with him in my arms. I stayed with Bro and his girlfriend Sunny for 2 weeks that time, and really got to know Squeak.
Then there was the 7-month old Squeak who came with his parents to our home in Chicago for his first Christmas... not much different from the 4-month-old Squeak, so I felt like we were still bonded from my visit. And then the 14-month-old Squeak I saw that summer, who had become a tiny athlete, and could hit a ball with a tiny bat, throw a small football with a perfect spiral, and swing a mini golf club like a pro.
This continued on, with my parents and I getting to see Squeak an average of about twice a year, usually in the summer and at Christmas time. Each time Squeak was about 6 months older. Each time he was this happy, cuddly, loveable little guy. I'd fall in love with him all over again, and then it would be time to leave.
This Christmas I had such a great time playing with the 3 1/2 year old version of Squeak. We played Hi-Ho-Cheerio, watched old He-Man cartoons, went sledding, had slinky races, played makeshift hockey games in the basement using an overturned laundry basket as a goal, visited the children's museum, and read stories together. This Squeak can talk, and will talk your ear off, happily narrating what is going on around him. This Squeak will cheer for you when you beat him at Hi-Ho-Cheerio, whereas many 3-year-olds would throw a fit. This Squeak gives out hugs and snuggles generously. This Squeak laughs and smiles and is just generally happy and excited about life. He is so loveable. And now he is leaving. And it will be a while until I see him again. Maybe not until summer.
When I first decided to move out to the Pacific Northwest, it was because I wanted to be closer to Bro, Sunny and Squeak. Now I am 8 hours away from them... so much closer than Chicago, but too far away to go to regularly, especially considering that I work Monday through Friday. Even if I have a long weekend, I have to drive like a maniac to get there and back, in order to squeeze out the most possible Squeak time. There is a Greyhound bus that will go there, but it takes a frustrating 24 hours, because the only way to get to Bro's remote little town is to go all the way to San Francisco, and then take another long bus ride back up to Northern Cali. An airplane might be quicker, but you still have to fly to San Francisco and then transfer to another plane and fly back up.
Since the time I was about 18, I had a lot of friends whose children called me Auntie. I was a great aunt to them. I would frequently take them to fun places on the weekends, I was at each of their birthday parties, and I saw them all the time. Now that Squeak is my actual nephew, it is frustrating that I can't be that Auntie to him.
I've written about this before. I probably write about this each time I see Squeak and then have to say goodbye. But if you could just see him, when he smiles at you and hugs you, you would understand.
I'm gonna miss that Squeak.