A week ago I caught Tess studying the engagement photo of my brother Billy and my sister-in-law Lindsay.

“This guy?  This guy right here? We love him.”

It did my heart good because, though I love my brother, I do a crappy job of staying in touch and we see far too little of him.  For my kids to love him so ardently though they barely know him is awesome to me.

The recent trip clarified the attraction they hold for their Uncle Billy.  He is so fun, what’s not to love?  This time they learned that Uncles are good for:

– Giving cool nicknames like Maximus and Filthy Phil.  By the time we left, Philip was responding simply to “Filthy.”

– Giving cool gifts like foreign money in nifty boxes and hand-me-down hats.

– Teaching new things like soccer tricks. And funny words.

– Being wild and rough.  He played soccer with them in his living room and launched them off of an air mattress by falling on it himself.

– Laughing until they cry at things you do that are funny. (And sometimes not so funny.)

– Sharing new experiences like prickly pear (“Good!” “It looks like snot!” *  *new vocab), cedar berries (“I don’t yike it.” “It makes your poop smell funny!”) and three berry muffins.

The kids had a great time with Uncle Billy but Filthy summed it up best.  As we prepared to leave he told Mama Syd, “I like this place.  I wish I was Uncle Billy.”

Don’t we all, Philip. Don’t we all.