I cannot count the number of times I’ve been derisively called “Uncle Phil” by students. When I correct them, many try to make the connection between the name and the character from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I point out that the character and I have nothing in common. I often deflect the “Uncle Phil” with standard replies. The first is a guilt trip in which I feign sadness because the student in question lacks respect for me despite the fact that all I have ever tried to do is enrich their life through the study of literature. Sometimes, I will tell them they can call me whatever they want immediately after graduation. They usually shout “PHIL!” on the lawn of the Blaisdell. Finally, I will use the simplest comeback, which is “Nobody calls me that.”
Well, in a little while, someone will.
Matty and Tanya welcomed their son into the world early Saturday morning. He is a cutie, luckily drawing more of his looks from his mother rather than his father. A lot of that going around in the family. Anyway, Tanya, Matty, and Baby Mutts are all home safe now. Madison is understandably excited. She held Baby Higa in her arms and only begrudgingly took her eyes off of him for this picture. The rest of the time, she sagged her head and looked down at her cousin in silence.
As excited as Mad is, however, I’m pretty pumped myself. It never dawned on me until I held my nephew in my arms for the first time, but his birth is the beginning of a lifelong personal quest: to become this kid’s favorite uncle.
In the past, with my parents’ dogs, I have become their favorite brother primarily through the use of food. It is foolproof. Find meat and surreptitiously give it to them. Obviously, that’s not going to work for at least a year. I’ll have to formulate some kind of strategy and I look forward to the challenge.
Congratulations, Tanya and Matty! You’re going to be great parents and your son is a very lucky boy.