Archived Story

Fortifying family ties

Published 6:23pm Monday, May 5, 2014

For nearly 25 years, I had the distinction of being the only person in my immediate family that had a birthday in the month of May.

While it’s not a big deal in any sense, it was something I took pride in, as I have numerous cousins and such, and any one of them could have arrived on this earth in May.

But they didn’t.

As a result, May has pretty much always been my month and while I haven’t really celebrated my birthday in a few years, it’s always gone pretty well, so long as I get a decent Mother’s Day present (the day always comes before my birthday. Know what I mean?).

All of that changed last year – May 5, to be exact – when lo and behold, I became an uncle for the first time.

I never told anyone this, but that was a big day for yours truly.

I wasn’t even the father of the kid, yet I almost teared up when I heard my nephew have the first cry of his life, shortly after being born.

From that point on, I knew that I had to strive to be a better example and a better person for him.

When I left the hospital that day, it all hit me. I no longer had the month of May to myself.

Instead, I had to share it with a small bundle of joy who has a smile that can light up many a room.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t as upset about it as I thought I would be.

As it were, this past weekend, my nephew turned one year old, and the family – myself included – all decided to convene at Chuck E. Cheese’s in order to celebrate the occasion.

This was a challenge for me because I don’t exactly have the relationship I want with my relatives.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s far from awful. In fact it’s decent enough, all things considered, but when it comes to your kin, it can always be better. At least, I think so.

So while it wasn’t something I expected, this was a chance for me to see some faces I hadn’t seen in a long time.

My great-grandmother ribbed me a bit, saying she didn’t recognize me at all. I even saw some old classmates that had since become a part of my brother’s circle of friends.

I saw a couple of aunts, and handful of cousins, and I got sorely needed time with my nephew.

All in all, it was a good day. And it took me another step in the right direction in terms of strengthening my family ties.

I knew that I would be a better example for my nephew, but thanks to him, I got a little bit back in tune with my family, and that makes me a better person.

On a lighter note, Chuck E. Cheese’s is bananas during birthday celebrations.

Chaos doesn’t even begin to describe it.

But amidst all the tumult, I felt right at home.

Bailey is sports editor for The Outlook.