It’s Thanksgiving! This year, we’re at my mom and dad’s. I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a rural peninsula made almost-famous by the warped Cornish dialect of Tangier Island, Cherrystone clams, an indigenous, greenish sweet potato known as the Hayman, and a prostitute named Tattoo whose prolapsed uterus once fell out on the porch of my sister’s best friend’s mother’s house.
My parents and sister, Cean, live on a farm on Hungar’s Creek, just over a half an hour’s drive from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. You can walk from one house to the other in about 5 minutes. My brother, Robbie, is about 15 minutes away. I also have three other sisters–Kristin and Kendra, who live in Massachusetts, and Gillian, who lives in Texas. Everyone has one to three kids and zero to four dogs, so family gatherings are usually loud, drooly, and hairy.
I’ve sort of enjoyed the distinction of being the only childless person in the family. It’s hard to stand out in a group of 25 people, so you gotta take what you can get. But over the course of Christmases and birthday parties, I’ve started to feel a stinging pang of jealousy that I was just the auntie. It’s nice to finally be able to join the club.
As we’re sitting at Thanksgiving dinner, my three-year old nephew, Logan, and three year-old niece, Elsie, try to lure me over to the kids table.
“Uncle Kate, you come sit here,” Logan says. (I don’t know if it’s my deep baritone, my broad chest, or my penis, but for some reason these kids think I’m their uncle.) “UNCLE KATE!” Elsie yells. I look over. They are both staring at me with mashed potatoes on their faces, chomping turkey with their mouths open. They are disgusting, and I love them dearly. It’s hard to imagine that in nine months I’ll have my own disgusting kid that I’ll love even more. But for now, being Uncle Kate will do just fine.