When my sister, Rachel Anne started having kids, I was completely clueless. I was married, working full-time, and going to school, and, well, I was in my own little self-centered world.
When her oldest, Elle, was born, Dennis and I drove all the way across the country to see her. I am so mortified now to think we invited ourselves to their home, and, in my ignorance, I'm sure I asked stupid questions of the new mom, like, "What are we having for dinner?"
Less than two years later when Em was born, we lived less than an hour away, but (19 years later) I am still humiliated at the memory that (a) I did not visit Rachel at the hospital; and (b) it never dawned on me to take a moment from my "busy" schedule to bring a meal, to take care of Elle, or to offer help in any tangible capacity.
And they were such cute babies. The shame!
By the time GT was born, I did begin to realize how really selfish I was. The reason? My own Allie was four months old, and, as I struggled so mightily in those early days, it was Rachel who called me every day to see how I was doing, who listened to endless descriptions of feeding and bowel movement schedules, and who rearranged her life to accommodate mine so many times. I needed my sister so much, and where on earth had I been when she needed me most?
Uhh. But I digress.
Amazingly, the nieces and nephew haven't seemed to hold the pitiful start to our relationship against us (Naturally, it helps that I happen to be married to the greatest uncle in the world...). We enjoy every moment we get to share, and the older they get, the more I love being their aunt.
The cute babies have grown up to be great kids, incredible role models for my own, and I am in constant awe of the beautiful job my sister has done with her family, in spite of less than ideal circumstances on many fronts.
I mostly love that, even though the girls have moved off to college, we can still be a part of their lives. SO FUN!
The other day, I was clearing messages off my machine, and there was a sweet message from nineteen-year-old Em, a sophomore at college a mere 45 minutes from our house. Seems she was in the mood for banana bread, and wondered if I had "THE" recipe that's been in our family for generations now.
Since I welcome any chance to make up for being a lug-head of an aunt during their formative years, I was more than happy to provide Em with the recipe. I thought you might enjoy it, too.
"The" Banana Bread
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar (I use part brown)
2 beaten eggs
5 T. sour milk (a few drops vinegar, orange juice or lemon juice in with the milk)
3 mashed bananas (the blacker the better)
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
Cream butter with sugar and add eggs, milk, and bananas. Stir together dry ingredients and add. Bake at 350 for about 60 min. for one large loaf.
I love you Em! Hope to see you soon. The washer's even fixed just for you.