for auntie beryl
who always read my blog, even when it was boring.
i just came back from dinner with my family and had lots of fun playing with my little neice. i can't believe she's almost a year old! seems like just the other day she was coming home, swaddled tight in her blanket, an adorable 5 pound 10 ounce burrito. i'm pretty new at being an aunt, but luckily i had a great role model. from what i can tell, being an aunt means that i'll love little naomi and she'll love me; i'll help take care of her and watch her as she grows up; i'll spend time with her and give her treats she doesn't get from mom and dad, and she'll tell me things she won't tell them. we'll have that magical combination of familial love and easygoing friendship. i get to be that grown up that's cool because... well... because i'm not the parent!
i used to go for sleepovers at auntie beryl's when i was a kid. my cousin is just a bit older than me, so we would hang out sometimes, and sleepovers meant that we could stay up later and play board games or calecovision. and there was always something exciting about sleeping away from home, in a bed that wasn't mine. i guess it made me feel like a big kid, even though i brought my stuffed animals to hug at night. i had a terrible nightmare once and woke up sobbing. good thing auntie beryl came in to calm me down and make it better.
later on, when the 14 month age gap made my cousin too cool for me, i still went to visit, i just spent the time hanging out with auntie beryl instead. she was so easy and fun to talk with. and she let me have vanilla ice cream with kahlua, how cool!
once, having caught my brother de-wedgying himself, she asked if he was going to a show. "what?" he asked, not understanding. "no...." then the punchline: "cause you're picking your seat!" hahaha, david and i still giggle over that one. although my favourite auntie beryl line is still the one i first heard about 25 years ago (yikes, that long??): "So...." i drawl, not going anywhere in particular. "buttons on ice cream," she finishes. i give a confused look. "sew buttons on ice cream and watch them melt off". ha! i like that one. way cooler than "hey is for horses". to this day, i have been heard to interject the buttons-on-ice-cream line on occasion.
in the winter time, as christmas starts to close in and decorations go up, i always think of auntie beryl. we used to drive around the neighborhoods looking at all the beautiful lights. some streets really went all out; it's like the neighbors were in cahoots. they had a reputation to uphold! they couldn't disappoint their fans, as we drove along slowly, oohing and aahing at the colours twinkling on the eaves and in the trees. yes, the place to be on christmas was definitely auntie beryl's house. the piles and piles of delicious food! meatballs, creamed peas, stuffing, ham... ooh, ham!! auntie beryl could always count on her little jewish neice amanda gobbling up a plateful of that amazing ham. yep, once a year; oh, how i looked forward to it! and even with all the kids, grandkids and us moochy nieces and nephew coming by, i always felt welcome and wanted.
you may think that auntie beryl is gone, but she isn't. she is still hanging on, fighting. she is a tough cookie! and although this is just a snapshot, i didn't want to wait to write about what a fantastic person she is and express how much i love her and how she has touched my life. i hope i can be just as wonderful an aunt to naomi as she has been to me.