A highlight of our family's Easter celebration was the interaction my grandchildren had with my stepson, Matthew, his girlfriend, Kristen, and my daughter, Karah.
When Matthew, Kristen and Karah are around, much of their attention is focused on Tilleigh, 7; Evie, 4, and William, 19 months. And the kids soak it up like a sponge in water.
My husband, Hank (the grandkids call him "Boo"), is the only steady male figure in these kids' lives. The children adore him, but when Matthew is around, Boo takes a temporary back seat.
Matthew and Kristen moved to Chattanooga last summer and, though we were thrilled to have them back in our lives on a regular basis (we spend every Sunday together), Tilleigh and Evie were elated.
Matthew is strong and energetic. He playfully tosses the kids around like they're rag dolls, and they love it. They never want him to stop. Watching them play is like seeing acrobats in motion. There are never tears, only laughter.
And, just because he's an adult doesn't mean that Matthew doesn't enjoying playing. He loves it. In fact, every year at Christmas, Santa brings the four adult "boys" in our family a Nerf toy. So Matthew was particularly pleased to see that the Easter Bunny brought his nieces Nerf bows and arrows in their Easter baskets. For more than an hour, Matthew taught the girls how to shoot, and he made sure that everyone got a turn, including himself. He had a blast. He didn't even mind climbing up a tall ladder to get one of the arrows Evie shot into a tree.
And Kristen, with her waist-length, straight, blonde hair, is always willing to play "makeover" with the girls. A makeover means letting the girls, at the same time, brush and style Kristen's hair - for hours, sometimes putting on makeup and giving one another manicures. On Easter, Kristen sat patiently as the girls put clips and barrettes in her hair. She never complained.
Karah spent one-on-one time with William on Easter, which he loved. A science teacher and dedicated swimmer, Karah loves to be outdoors and shares her passions with her nieces and nephew. She also knows a lot about bugs, which the children find fascinating.
And though the children only see their Uncle Kit and Aunt Bonnie a couple times each year (Kit and Bonnie live in California), or Uncle Trevor (who works seven days a week at his restaurant in Knoxville), the girls are crazy about them.
Like grandparents, aunts and uncles play important roles in the lives of children. After all, you can't get too much love, can you?
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396.