One of the best things about being back on the East Coast is that I’m much closer to my brothers and their kids. I get to be the uncle I want to be. Well, at least I get to try to be the uncle I want to be.

During this break, I’ve spent a bunch of time with my family for the holidays. The number of times I’ve been surrounded by four kids under ten this week is a new record. While most of my friends consider me a high-energy person, spending this time around the young one saps my energy like no other. I’m coming into the New Year Holiday tired. I don’t regret any minute I spend with the kids, but they are intense. I don’t even feel like I use too much energy with them, yet when they leave, I’m done. I want nothing more than to sit on the couch and nap. It’s an enormous effort to get up and do other personal goals.

The question is if I could take care of the kids independently if I had to. I kept telling my brother I’d rise to the occasion. I want to think that, but I don’t know. I love kids and love the time I spend with them. I love the way they look at the world and the questions they have. When I end up in a swarm of children, I get overwhelmed by the questions. Also, there is part of me that remains a cheerleading spotter. I’m looking for all the ways the kids could hurt themselves, and I try to be there to spot them if something crazy happens.

This is an appreciation post for all my friends with kids I have played with. Thank you for letting me borrow your children. Thank you for having children so that I can play with them. Thank you for being more robust and persistent than me to keep up with your kids. I remain consistently and constantly impressed with you!