The first meeting of Uncle Bryan and Finley Bryan Perry.

Several years ago, Bryan expressed to me his desire to become a father someday. It broke my heart to think that dream would probably never be realized. But now (thanks be to God!) Bryan has become an uncle. On March 10, 2022, Finley Bryan Perry was born to Bryan’s sister, Amy and brother-in-law Kevin. Joining both the Johnson and Perry families together, Amy and Kevin gave their little son a middle name honoring our firstborn son, Bryan, and the Perry family firstborn son, also named Bryan.

When sister Amy first announced the news that she was pregnant in front of the extended family on summer vacation together, I was completely blown away and cried tears of joy. Bryan, mistaking my tears for those of being upset, got very disturbed and muttered to himself angrily that mom was crying because she was sad. It took a while to convince him that my tears were those of happiness. Once he understood that, it still took him a while to process this momentous news.

By the end of that week, he was asking cautious questions of his Sis. “Will the baby like to eat sandwiches?” “Will the baby like salt and pepper?” Practical questions. Concrete thinking as he munched his own sandwich at the lunch table.

I’m sure it will take a bit of time for the reality and concreteness of his nephew takes hold. He watched Amy’s growing belly with interest for nine months, but seeing that and actually holding the baby in his arms are two different things. Abstract vs. concrete.

Finn squirmed and cried in Uncle Bryan’s arms yesterday. But he patiently held him, not quite knowing what to do. How I wish I could get inside of his head to know how the wheels were turning!

Bryan didn’t say much after that experience. It always takes a while for him to process events. However, I know that, in time, questions will come, bonding will happen, and the two will become best buddies. Of that, I am sure. Once Finn starts to smile, coo, crawl and grow, a relationship will be forged. The toys which have been stored in the attic for over thirty years will be dusted off and cleaned. Bryan’s toys. They will be given a new life while uncle and nephew rediscover them and connect to each other in a deeper way.

And, I think, Bryan will become a most devoted and loving uncle, protective and caring for his little nephew, whom Bryan calls his “namesake”. I don’t know where he learned that term. Not from me. But that’s what he calls Finn. Already claiming him as his own flesh and blood. Let the adventure begin!

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