Photo by Jen Bell

I was sitting in a dusty dark West African hotel room when I opened the facebook message saying that I was an uncle.  From the time I heard that my family would be expanding, I knew that things would be different.  I knew that I’d have to be more responsible, set a good example, and be closer to my family more often.  But when I didn’t realize was the pride that would hit me when I got that news.  I can honestly say that becoming an uncle, to two beautiful babies, was one of the happiest moments of my life.  I had no idea, however, how emotional it would be.

Photo by Jen Bell

But well all the happiness of becoming an uncle was amazing, it definitely didn’t make my trip down Africa any easier.  I constantly found myself wanting to just drop it all and go meet the little monsters.  Anytime things got hard, I saw it as a sign I was meant to quit and go home to lay on the floor and play with the little ones.  Thankfully, occasional facebook photos and videos of my niece and nephew seemed to keep me going and lighten my spirits whenever they were heavy.

Finally, after conquering Africa on my scooter, I managed to spend 2-days of travel beating jet lag along the way to get to them.  There’s no real explanation for the feeling you have when meeting family for the first time.  Whether they are older, or 10 month old babies, there is an instant connection that can’t be beat.  There is no conditions, just love.

The week I spent with my sister’s family in Oshawa is one I’d never take back, and although I waited far too long to meet my little niece and nephew, our meeting was perfect.  I had planned on spending the week getting caught up on work.  However, I couldn’t do anything but crawl around on the floor and play games.  I couldn’t help but stare at them, and see other family members in their smiles and eyes; see myself too.

In the end, I got little work done at all in Oshawa, and I’m glad I didn’t, because I got to meet my family!