Uncle Drew and Lily Elizabeth

I’ve held many different titles in my life. I’ve been a classmate, teammate, roommate, core member, coworker, and friend. Professionally I’ve been a counselor, coordinator, and director. I’m a son, brother, nephew, grandson, and cousin. But I take pride in nothing more than being an uncle. I was finally able to call myself an uncle on March 12 when the sweet Lily Elizabeth came into the world.

I found out I was going to be an uncle waaay back in July. Our whole family was getting ready to leave for vacation when my sister and brother-in-law’s dog came running out with a bandana that said “Big sister.” It took everyone a little while to notice and then comprehend what exactly it meant. Gradually we all started to piece it together. In that moment I was already so unbelievably excited to meet my little niece (or nephew). I was so many months away from meeting her and I already loved her so much.

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Meeting Lily for the first time was one of the best days ever. I remember sitting in the waiting room in disbelief that the day had finally arrived. I had spent months thinking about how I would be as an uncle. What kind of uncle would I be? My goal was to obviously to be the fun uncle but I wanted to be more than just that. I wanted to be the uncle that loved her unconditionally and would help her grow and learn about the world around her. But would I be able to accomplish that or live up to those standards? Seeing her for the first time put all of my anxiety at ease. In an instant she became one of the most important things in my life. Holding her for the first time just felt so natural. I felt like I had been preparing my whole life to be this little girl’s uncle. While holding her I just thought of how cool it’s going to be to see her grow up and know that I get to be a part of it. I get to see her grow from this tiny little baby and see her learn to walk, talk, and explore the world around her. In fact, in her first three months she’s already grown so much.

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Being an uncle brings me so much joy. Holding Lily has quickly become one of my favorite things in world. It brings me so much peace to look at her and see her little face. Her life is so simple, and in turn that helps give my life simplicity. Holding her helps me to slow down and appreciate everything I have in life. Lily was born exactly a month before I started my new job. I absolutely love my job but it can definitely be chaotic, especially recently. Whenever I’m stressed I’ll look at pictures of Lily. In fact, she’s the background on my phone. Every time I look at a picture of her I smile and I can’t help but show everyone around me. Whenever I see a Snapchat from my sister I stop everything I’m doing because I’m anticipating a picture or video of Lily.

I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing more genuine than a baby smiling. And making Lily smile just makes me so happy. Her laughter is so pure and contagious that it’s impossible not to be in a good mood around her. Like I said earlier, Lily has become a source of peace. I’ll go over to visit her and the stress just disappears. When I’m holding her nothing in the world is more important.

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Last weekend I had the privilege of officially becoming Lily’s Godfather as she was baptized into the Church. It’s hard to put into words how cool it is to witness a sacrament like that knowing that I get to play a role in her faith as she grows up. Having that title of Godfather gives me that extra bit of motivation to continually be a positive role model of faith for her as she gets older. If there’s anything more meaningful to me than being an uncle it’s being Lily’s Godfather.

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To make everything even better is the fact that there was movie released this weekend called “Uncle Drew.” How perfect is that? I haven’t even seen it but it’s already my favorite movie ever. I can’t wait to watch it with Lily someday.

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I love Lily so much already and I’m only going to love her more and more as I spend more time with her. I can’t wait to hear her say Uncle Drew for the first time (or as we’ve predicted, “Uncle Dew”). I can’t wait to have my first conversation with her, or watch my first Cardinals game with her, or celebrate all of her birthdays with her. Being an uncle has been the absolute best thing in the world for me because it’s given me an additional purpose in life. And that purpose is to love Lily Elizabeth unconditionally, both as her uncle and her godfather.

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