To My Niece and Nephew  

Dear Niece and Nephew –

Happy Holidays you two! Harper, you were born just this year (May 10th!). I sent you Steamboat Willie, and a basketball uniform, and a basketball, and a soccer ball, and other types of sports ball, and I asked for photos, and I Facetimed with you, and I thought about you every day until I was lucky enough to hold you in my arms on the 4th of July. You didn’t even spit up on me or anything, because you’re the best.

Nephew, you aren’t born yet but you are coming soon. I don’t know what your name is going to be but I would love to use a name place holder for the purpose of this blog. Your parents have been calling you “Sixer,” but that feels like it’s their nickname, not mine. I would rather call you a name that could not possibly be your future name so I am not blamed for miraculously correctly guessing it before you were born so, going forward in this blog, I will be calling you Sticker. (Close to Sixer, but not.) I don’t believe your parents would actually name you Sticker, but if they do, I withhold judgement. Who knows? Maybe as a nickname it will “stick.” (See what I did there?… See?)

Sticker, I am pumped to meet you. Over the holidays I get to see your momma’s pregnant belly for the first time (just like I got to see Harper’s mom’s belly last year) and I’m even pumped to see that. Mostly because it’s fun to see our family changing and growing, and it’s neat seeing your moms become, well, moms.

So, Harper and Sticker. Gosh can I just say I am thrilled to be your Aunt Alison? It’s something I have always wanted to be. I grew up really liking my aunts. One of my aunts, Aunt Hilda, sadly passed away this year, before either of you got to meet her. She was a great aunt to me and your dads. So my hope is to take that aunt torch and really swing it, you know? Keep the “good aunt” flag flame flying.

Okay, maybe I should back it up a second. First things first. I am the younger sister of both your dads, Michael and Brian. My parents are your grandparents, Greg and Mary Tafel. (Harper, I think you call them Oma and Opa.) We are the “Tafel side” of your family. We are a fun, loving, loud and loyal bunch. We wear our hearts on our sleeves and we are always there for each other. We really like quality time together and also really like trivia. Your moms, Andrea and Danny, also have really cool families. They are also kind, loving, and fun people so, really Harper and Sticker, you hit the “family is cool on both sides” jackpot.

Brian and Mike are going to be two rad dads. They have great passions and big hearts and make people laugh. We felt so lucky when they found your moms, Andrea and Danny, and they joined the Tafel family.  They fit right in, mostly because they love and let love. They added and continue to add so much joy. In short, you’re in great parent hands, dudes.

There’s also one very special person I haven’t mentioned, and that is your Uncle Zach. Or, er, your soon-to-be Uncle Zach. He’s with me. My guy. My best friend partner love of my life buddy. Been with me for a lonnnnnnnnng time. We’re getting married next year. He’s really nice and super like-able. He probably will  become your favorite. And I know that comes across as biased, and that’s because it totally is, but it’s also totally true.

So, yeah, that’s all of us, and that’s where I fall in the line-up of your family.

Here’s a couple things you should know about me:

  1. I live in Los Angeles… aka where Disneyland is.
  2. I work on TV and someday you may be old enough to watch what I work on but, like, not yet okay?
  3. I love you and I will always always always be there for you.
  4. I will always have gum.

But enough about me! How about you? What are you like? What are you going to be like? What are going to be your interests and passions and ups and downs? Who the heck are you guys? Oh it’s going to be so much fun watching you figure it out!

I thought to dedicate this blog post to you two this month because it’s the holidays, my absolute FAVORITE time of year, and I realized this will be the first holiday season being an aunt. And it has been so long since we’ve had kids around the holidays that I am super ignited with excitement. The toys! The outfits! The new traditions! Also, Sticker, you’re  Jewish! That’s all new stuff for me, and I am so on board to learn.

And after the holidays I realized there is, like, all other life events too. Forever. And that makes me feel warm and happy. Right off the bat I want to stake claim on a few things. (And yes, most of this will be entertainment related. I assume that your parents will have sports/outdoors/vacations/music/basic things covered.) So here goes:

  1. When you’re old enough I want to introduce you to the television show “Friends.” It will give you quotes for any event in life. Example: Monica (to her brand new nephew): “I will always have gum.”
  2. If you have any interest in doing musical theater, I would love to help you pick out the song you want to audition with.
  3. If you need to call another family member when, like, your parents “just don’t get it” throw me in your speed dial. I gotchu. (Also, for the record, your parents will always get you.)
  4. Consult me with any theme party ideas. Same goes for Halloween costumes. Daring wardrobe and themed stuff  in general I’m a good ear.
  5. I’m here if you wanna talk about comedy. I can also suggest comedies to watch, do, memorize. You parents can also help in that department but it’s sort of my vocation so I thought I’d throw it in there.
  6. If you need some ammo, I am happy to dredge up any embarrassing stories about your dads.
  7. Star Wars.
  8. Harry Potter.
  9. The Muppet Family Christmas Special.
  10. The first time you are on stage, I will be front row (likely next to Opa).
  11. You’re going to have to walk me through new technology and lingo so I can stay hip with the younger generation.
  12. And finally, this should be obvious, but I want to be with you for the first time you go to Disneyland.

I think a major reason I am so looking forward to our bond is because I am not sure at this point if I will have children of my own. If I do, Harper and Sticker, they will likely be much younger than you two. And if that’s the case, all I ask is that you two try to include them in all your cousin activities. Even if they drive you crazy because they’re the little guys.

Which reminds me, both of you will be the oldest siblings! Congrats on the rank! But again, a word of advice. Be kind to your younger siblings, should you have any. They will look up to you, mimic you, and seek your constant approval. You will be a huge part in shaping them, and you will likely influence who they become in more ways than you’ll ever know. So, to quote ye old Spiderman tablet, “with great power comes great responsibility.” You don’t even have to be their friend until you’re an adult. Just be nice. Be there. Care. Your dads did that for me and it made all the difference.

I could go on and on with this blog post. I could tell you about how at times in your life you may feel really sad and that’s okay. I could tell you how it’s also okay to feel really weird. It’s okay to feel like at outcast just as much as it’s okay to feel like an incast. I could tell you that it’s not stupid to be smart, and it’s not lame to be really passionate about something. I could tell you that it’s better to find the good in people than focus on the things you dislike about them. I could tell you to try to surround yourself with kind people who are different than you. I could tell you about the importance of saying “I don’t know” and the importance of learning new things. I could tell you that tough times don’t last, tough people do. And I could tell you to follow your dreams, and try to leave things better and people better than when found them.

But I’ll tell you all that later.

For now, I’ll just say: I can’t wait to see you at Christmas, I know Santa and she is Oprah, and I’ll always have gum.

Love – Aunt Alison

(aka One L)

“From this day forward, you are to be blamed when I fart.” – all Aunts to all their nieces and nephews


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