Sometimes you have to share

Every family has a collection of stories they tell about each other. Sometimes the stories are funny, oftentimes they are embarrassing, but occasionally they are sweet and translate well from generation to generation.

My Aunt Jan tells the story of how when I was five, I told my two-year-old sister that she was coming to visit. But I set very clear boundaries about the relationship my sister could have with our aunt.

“She’s my Aunt Jan,” I said. “I will share her with you, but she’s mine.”

I was serious.

My Aunt Jan is by all accounts an amazing person.

She has a servant’s heart and a wicked sense of humor. She’ll give you the shirt off her back, the lipstick from her purse and the earrings from her drawer. She even carried dog bones in the trunk of her car for the longest time in case she came across strays. She’s an unbiased listener, a wise counselor and a fearless learner. She completely embodies the definition of the color purple.

Just don’t piss her off.

She’s an angel, but if you hurt her family, she will cut you. No lie. Ask the receipt checker at a certain Sam’s Club in Southeast Texas who was rude to my grandfather.

Anyway, when my son was a few weeks old, my aunt flew to Kansas City to be the first of my family to meet him. She cooked for me, ran errands, and took about eleventy billion photos.

I was in awe of how quickly she fell in love with my son.

Over the last year, she has made it a point to video chat with the Monkey on Saturday mornings. Because of those chats, he recognizes her face and voice, and they’re quite the adorable pair.

Sometimes she’ll show him toys she buys and keeps at her house. She’ll sing to him and chatter at him, but mostly she just watches as he tears around the living room upending everything in sight.

We’ve been counting down to her visit this weekend for months now, and when she got off the plane last night I was not surprised when my son went right to her, laid his head on her shoulder, and snuggled her until she was forced to put him down to claim her baggage.

He was thrilled to see her this morning when she came downstairs and shrieked like a banshee. My heart melted along with my eardrums.

After breakfast we all headed to the Weston Red Barn Farm – our third trip in as many years – which I guess makes it an official family tradition.

But first! First we had to finally flip the carseat forward facing. We’d originally wanted to leave it rear facing til at least 18 months, but my 27-lb, 33-inch toddler has been twisting his legs into a pretzel to fit for the last few weeks, so it was just time.

Also, he got his very own cup of juice at QuikTrip today. Holy crap, my kid is grown.

I was a little bummed because it’s been too warm and the leaves aren’t as vibrant as they usually are, but we still had a magical time at the farm.

We practiced our animal noises with the goats and pigs.

We climbed on haystacks.

We rode around on Daddy’s shoulders to get a better view of all the hot chicks visiting from the local kindergarten.

And Aunt Jan bought us our very. first. ever. PUMPKIN.

We were completely knackered by the time lunch rolled around and passed out during the ride home, but woke up with renewed energy, ransacked the house and wrestled with Aunt Jan until mean old Mama decided it was bedtime.

And when I was getting him ready for bed, I told him to give goodnight kisses to Aunt Jan, but couldn’t resist adding, “She’s my Aunt Jan, but I’ll share her with you.”