Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nieces, nephews and recipes

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.


Rachel Anne said...

What in the WORLD are you talking about??? You've always been the best aunt and uncle EVER and I don't even remember any of what you just posted. Hilarious! I do hope you haven't lost any sleep over what you perceive to be our past history, because it just didn't happen that way. You've loved our kids and me through the ups and downs of the years and always been there for me.

BTW, that is THE best Banana Bread recipe, people. Consider yourselves lucky to get it!!!

Love you, sis.

Beck said...

I had to quickly pass my eyes over the banana bread recipe because I am on a stupid DIET!
My mother-in-law came to stay with us right after I had The Girl, to "help." And her idea of "helping" was to offer to hold the baby while I went and cleaned the house - one week after having a c-section. Um....

Lori said...

Sounds like my sister and I but I am Rachel =)) Now my sister has toddlers I get phone calls crying "I did not understand, I am sorry I really did not understand what you were going through."

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

I think we all go through the same things, especially when one sibling has no children AND does not understand, but the fact that you are here now is what matters. I have had this same conversation with my sisters, AND they were here when I needed them the most during my son's sugery AND especially after this oast year...

By the way, I must share w/ my husband about the BLACK bananas. He thinks I am crazy to want to keep them around so long ... he just doesn't get it ... I am gonna try your version .. THANK YOU!

Gwen Sirmans (Ivey's Mom) said...

This is great. I am eight years older than my sister. But, I think everyone has a misunderstanding of life with kids, until they have them.
Thanks for the recipe!!!!
Oh, and you have always been so sweet when it comes to my sweet Ivey. She did get her prosthetic eyes this week! Such a blessing.

Deidre said...

Mmmm...thank you, Katherine. I'm certainly going to try this. I imagine you ARE the best aunt, but just don't know it :)

fAiThFuL cHiCk said...

My man loves banana bread, so we will have to make it this weekend. Have you ever tried to make muffins from the batter?

Jen said...

Family is so great......hold on tightly to them.