One thing that my Whitney-sister is especially great at is making sure that her kids have relationships with family far flung. For myself-- parents and sissies aside--I generally have a tough time keeping out-of-sight folks top of mind; my brain is one that relishes compartmentalizing and isn't any good at mixing the peas with the carrots. Whit makes sure that her kids don't fall into that trap.
I have always received unintelligible phone calls from her boys. I latch into words like "kitty" and do my best to run with them. Her boys know who Aunt Megan, Uncle Mark, and "Phosie" are even though we see them so rarely.
And they remember things. When I see Van he has to show me his yoga and I'm ever flabbergasted that since he was how old his brother is now, Jack has remembered that my computer is a tablet and he asks to draw with me. It helps me to craft individual relationships with them so that my love isn't arbitrary but cultivated instead.
I just got this email from Whitney:
Just now, I clicked over to your Zazzle shop and Jack was standing next to me when it pulled up. And he said, "Oh! That looks beautiful!" And I told him that you made all those prints and he said, "Mom! You need to get some of those!" And I showed him the ones we have and he said, "Does she do any Star Wars or army guy ones?"
Rock on. A 5 year old likes you.
And I like him right back.