My Promotion to Guncle

I’ve been wanting to work on my blog for while but had a bit of a writing spell recently. Or, if I’m being totally honest, I was just being incredibly lazy and not taking advantage of the inspiring muses all around me.

I’ve also been super busy between work and babysitting my almost 7 month old nephew, Lucas.

Just a quick back story for you: My twin sister Valbona and her fiancé Nick had my nephew in May of 2017. For our family, he’s the first nephew/grandson born. To say that we all just melt over my nephew is an understatement. As a brand new uncle, I’m a mess!

Current day: I’m fortunate enough to get to babysit my nephew almost every Friday and some weekends. I’ve been doing this since a few weeks after he was born.

This child, my heart, my light, has had such an amazing and deep impact on me. From when we first found out my sister was pregnant to now, something in me has changed. I’ve always loved children, but this kind of love that I have for my nephew is a new experience! Anytime I hear his sweet voice making sounds or screaming, or anytime he drools on me or grabs my face/beard, I just melt into a puddle.

My favorite part though, and the part that wraps me around his precious finger, is when he just looks/stares at me and gives me a huge and happy smile. There is literally no wrong that Lucas can do in my eyes.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Being part of his village, and knowing that I’ll have a partial influence on who Lucas grows up to be, is having a very deep and profound impact on me. This isn’t like a part-time babysitting job where I watch a kid for a while and then off he goes. We will be in each others’ lives. I know that I will have a part in shaping who he becomes as an adult, intentionally or not. This makes me really self reflect on who I am as a person and to make sure that I am doing the right things so that I am a positive role model in his life.

Not only am I an uncle to that sweet hellion, but I also happen to be his gay uncle. His guncle. Being a guncle is a very huge deal and it slightly varies from the uncle title. Part of my (self-appointed) role in his life is to teach him about the beauty in diversity and practicing inclusion. That being different is magical and to help create a world where people can just be who they are. I am grateful for the experiences I have had in my life and that I will be able to use them and share them to the children in my life. I’m also determined to be the rich uncle in the family! Ha!

There is another unique advantage of being a guncle (but this isn’t limited to us). As a gay man, I don’t think I’ll ever have children (biological or adopted). Who knows where life will take me, but that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve always said that I’d love the children of my siblings like they were my own. I even surprised myself at just how much I meant that! There is nothing I enjoy more than being in the same orbit as my nephew. It is exciting that I can just be myself from the very start of his life until I leave this world.

Some people don’t understand why I’m so involved in my nephew’s life. This is a close as I’m going to get to raising children, so I’m definitely going to maximize my time. I’ve got a huge amount of love to give and this makes me so happy!

I’ve been called many things before and have held many titles, but none as important as guncle! I call this a promotion because I am better today than I was before becoming an uncle.

Sibling Solidarity

One of the things I value most in the world is the human experience. Nothing is as profound as living and experiencing this marvelous world and the wonders in it.

The most extraordinary experience I’ve ever had, and still have, is the bond between my siblings and myself. My siblings and I are very close. I have a twin sister, younger sister, and younger brother. They are my everything. They are so much more than my best friends. They transcend “friendship.” A couple days ago they showed me the difference between sibling and friend.

I’ve been going through some personal stuff, that I don’t want to get into here, but it’s been tough. Life has thrown some negative things at me. After a while, hit after hit negative things start to take their toll.  That’s where I have been for months. Just worn down. I’ve been living with depression and anxiety for quite some time. It’s been such a dark year. If it could go wrong, trust me, it did. The repercussions from this year will last for quite some time. The impact in my life has been life changing.

The past few weeks, I saw an incline in the depression and anxiety. I lost motivation to do anything positive. I let my house fall into a mess. I skipped days at the gym. When I did go to the gym, I think I just looked sad and checked out. I’ve been wallowing in the cesspool that is my life.

I not normally the type of person to really open up to others with what I have going on. Normally I work through the situation and I am good. I am the kind of guy that listens to other people’s issues. However, I know that it is not good to keep things inside, especially when life keeps beating you down. I do talk to my brother and sisters though. When you’ve known people your entire life and grew up in the same house, it’s easier.

Opening up to friends is not as easy. I learned that this year and it reminded me of who I can confide in and who I can’t. I’ve also learned that because I always listen to other people’s issues, that they get used to me as a sounding board/diary. Over the past few months, when I tried to talk some friends, they always turned it back around to them and basically disregarded what I had to say. It’s always about them. I even watched someone “listen” to me speak, pause to let me finish, then continue on about them self. For someone to wait for you to finish speaking so they can disregard your attempt to open up, that is disheartening. What a terrible feeling. I actually started to use the app Whisper to let out some stuff going on in my head. I felt this would keep me from being a burden to anyone.

I recently met up with my sisters for dinner at the mall. I had told my siblings that for winter hibernation, I was going to buy a PlayStation 4 with the Uncharted series.. I needed things to occupy my time and distract me. Then I got my doctor bill from an ultrasound sound I had on my testicles when I noticed an issue. It was a cancer scare. Luckily it wasn’t cancer. It was hydrocele. You can read about that here. The bill was $424. Just what I was going to use to buy my PS4. So there went that. I told my siblings my PS4 had to wait.

Then the most awesome thing happened. My siblings knew just how down I was feeling, so they surprised me with an early Christmas/birthday present and gave me a PlayStation 4 with the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection that night.

No one, and I do mean no one, can know what that act of kindness did for me. When I got home with my PS4, I just stared at it. When I looked at the box, all I could think about was my siblings having the discussion to get me this gift because they knew it would lift my spirits. Since I’ve been an emotional train wreck lately anyway, I cried over it, but it was tears of joy. They knew exactly what I needed and when. I was a never burden to them.

The next day, something changed. I didn’t feel alone. The dark cloud that has been hovering over my head the past few months just vanished. Now, I feel like I used to. Strong, motivated, and tough. I know that shit is going to come my way, but I am ready to take it all on. I will not let anything take me down. With a support system like my siblings, there is no way I can’t. I am going to stay positive and motivated. I am going to pick up my life and move forward. We sometimes need the darkness to appreciate the light. Words cannot express just how much I appreciate the light in my life, my siblings (and our mother).

We all have those friends that get us, but siblings are different. They don’t just get you. They know you. They lift you up and lean on you. They are you. You are part of them and they are a part of you because you were born on the same wavelength. There is really nothing quite like it. #foreverfriends ❤️❤️❤️

I dedicate this song to my siblings and our mother, because quite frankly I just don’t what I would be without them.