The blog radio silence has been due to my being a full-time aunt for the last 11 days. It was our fifth annual "Aunty Camp," and we now have lots of traditions that create continuity and reasonably happy living for all of us. They're growing up well (Elder Niece is starting high school this fall, and Younger Niece is starting middle school), and it was a good visit, but let's face it -- a LONG visit!
The reason for the length of the visit is that EN was going to a week-long leadership program at FGS, so we actually only had her for about 5 days. The rest of the time, it was just YN with us. She is so much the easier niece to deal with -- quite a delight, whereas her sister is kind of draining after awhile. There's no way we could have done the opposite arrangement, with just EN for a week.
The bottom line is that I'm so glad we've had these five annual visits, which I think have done wonders for our relationship with our nieces. And, as I was saying to D. this afternoon, I can't even imagine what it would have been like when I was a kid to have a relative who regularly wrapped her arms around me and said, "I love you SO much!" That was in no way the vibe in my family, and I'm glad that I can change this vibe for the new generation.
BUT ... basically I put my whole life on hold for 11 days. We did have a lovely time feeling celebratory with YN last Friday when SCOTUS made marriage equality the law of the land, and it was great to have her as part of our family happiness. And I did a little bit of reading so that I was ready for a professional discussion on Monday morning. But otherwise, my normal life simply wasn't happening. I made the decision just to focus on the girls, spending time with them, talking, singing, playing games, reading together, watching Dr. Who, etc. It felt like wonderful quality time, and I was happy to have devoted this time to my nieces.
But now I'm ready for my real life to start again! All I'm capable of tonight is vegging on the couch and eating pizza, but tomorrow the agenda includes going to the gym, mowing the lawn, clearing up the rooms where the girls stayed, studying Hebrew, and doing some real reading. I can't wait!
(Of course, that "real life" lasts only three days, at which point I go off to a five-day conference. But the shortness of the time makes me appreciate it all the more.)