Today, Nephie is away at some sort of retreat with his high school. (I say “away” as if he didn’t live 2500 miles away from me already.) Earlier this week, Hubby and I received an email from SIL (his mom) asking us to write a special letter for him to open while he’s there. She was writing one, their sister (his aunt), the next-door neighbour who is a close family friend, etc. There were instructions as to what this letter should include.
“Some ideas for letter content that have been used in the past include: childhood memories, qualities you appreciate in your son, hopes you have for him for the future, wishes you have for him concerning the retreat, etc. Please feel free to include letters from grandparents and other family members if you feel they would have a special meaning for your son.”
Part of the reason Hubby and I are so well matched is because we both have the same reactions to things like that. A “special letter”? Naaaaaah. That’s boring. Hubby decided that he wanted to do something different instead. He thought about it for a bit and then suggested to me that instead of writing some trite sentiments that he gets constantly from everyone else anyway, let’s keep the feeling of our letter as a reflection of our relationship with Nephie.
Something that should be noted is what a great kid Nephie is. He is 14 years old but acts like he’s already in his 20s in many ways. (Sometimes, I think, to his detriment.) He’s sensitive and compassionate and self-sacrificing to a fault. He is praised all the time for these qualities. I think this sometimes places a burden on him to keep performing a certain way on that high level. He has a lot of expectations to live up to. I often wish that he had more of a chance to “just be a kid”. He’s funny and goofy and has a wonderful imagination and a curious mind. I think we’d see more of who he actually is as a person if he felt he had more freedom to explore it.
Anyway, Hubby decided that he would make up a silly quiz for Nephie to fill out and we would both include our answers and then he could compare them. I think that was perfect. Both of us have the same approach with Nephie (and people in general, probably). We’re not so in-your-face with telling people what we think. We don’t do words so much. Hubby and I are both show/not tell kind of people. Nephie knows we adore him and think the world of him because we spend time with him, being goofy and having fun. We listen to his ideas and do things we both like to do. Sending a quiz, instead of a sentimental paragraph or two, is like what we do in person. It’s lighthearted and fun but we still put a lot of time and thought into it.
Since I’m all about the quizzes, I’m sharing Hubby’s quiz, with both of our answers here too. Why wouldn’t I? Some of the answers are obviously addressing Nephie specifically, so ignore that part.
I think it’s interesting that Hubby and I have so many similar answers, although maybe I shouldn’t since we’ve been together for so long. I also realized, after he pointed it out, that maybe part of the reason I like filling out quizzes so much is because we did a lot of them when we first started dating. We had a long-distance relationship for the first year we were together and filled a lot of the time with odd getting-to-know-you things like that. Pleasant memories.
This is a copy of our entire letter to Nephie, just for fun (with some edits made to names to protect the innocent):
It’s Uncle and Auntie. Well, not really us in this letter but us in spirit. Hope you are having a great time at your new school and a fun time at your retreat. We are so proud of you and can’t wait to visit you next summer. It’ll be a visit filled with sleepovers, watching movies, bubble tea, bike rides, playing basketball, baseball, hockey, video games, Monopoly and that game where we kick the ball and get extra points for hitting Neph Jr. …Also possibly a trip to Morden to visit the Mo-Po-Po.
Not sure what you are doing at your retreat but I hope you are enjoying it. You will have to call us and let us know what it was all about when you get back.
In the meantime, I composed a fun little quiz for you to do. Write the answers down and you can share it with us when you call us next. Auntie and I will answer it too on the next page but don’t look at our answers until you answer yours. I just made up the questions off the top of my head so sorry if they are weird. Auntie and I always did quizzes like this and emailed them to each other…especially when we first met.
~Uncle and Auntie
P.S. Remember to write the answers down. There are no wrong or right answers except for question #41.
SUPER FABULOUS FUN NEPHEW RETREAT QUIZ
1 WHAT IS YOUR FAV STUFFY?
UNCLE J: All of them but if I had to choose…Kumi.
AUNTIE K: I don’t know if I could pick one. My stuffies mean a lot to me. They were given to me by people who are special to me or I bought them to remind me of a special time. And they are so cute!
2 WHAT ARE YOUR FAV MOVIES?
J: Marvel Movies
K: My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away
3 WHO ARE YOUR FAV SUPER HEROES?
J: Ironman and Wolverine
K: Hmmm. Can I say Edward? He’s super strong and fast and can read minds. And he’s pretty. Hahaha.
4 IF YOU HAD A SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
K: I have put a lot of thought into this already. I think it would be very cool and super helpful to be able to enter anyone else’s mind and see, hear, and think everything they’ve ever experienced.
5 WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THIS SUPERPOWER?
J: go anywhere in seconds
K: I’d be able to completely understand the other person. I’d do it so that we would be able to communicate better and not have misunderstandings.
6 WHAT IS YOUR FAV FOOD?
K: mashed potatoes
7 WHAT IS YOUR FAV STORE?
J: Kiddyland in Japan…like 8 levels of toys, figures and stuffies!!!!
K: I don’t have a favourite store. Do you think Amazon counts? Or…. a bubble tea store? Haha.
8 WHAT IS YOUR FAV X-MAS SONG?
J: Oh Holy Night (Weezer version) and Hanukkah Blessings by Barenaked Ladies
K: Carol of the Bells, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, and Once in Royal David’s City
9 WHICH SEASON DO YOU LIKE THE BEST AND WHY?
J: Summer for golf
K: I like fall best, I think. I like that it’s cooler outside and the trees are pretty and it’s okay to wear hoodies and boots, which are the most comfy clothes. And fall things smell better and taste better (like Thanksgiving food). I really like winter too but sometimes it’s TOO cold and if it isn’t snowy, then everything just looks dirty and dead.
10 WHAT IS YOUR FAV THING TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE SPARE TIME?
J: play video games and play guitar
K: Take a nap! Haha. Or watch a good movie, go see a live music performance, hang out with my favourite people, go for bubble tea.
11 CURRENTLY WHAT IS YOUR FAV SONG?
J: Forever Now by Greenday because that’s the album I’m currently listening to in the car
K: That’s a really hard question. My favourites change depending on my mood. I really love the song Aftermath by Muse so I’ll stick with that.
12 WHAT CHORE DO YOU LIKE DOING THE MOST?
K: I don’t mind washing dishes. We have dish soap that smells really good.
When I was your age, my mom used to leave polishing the coffee table up to me and no one else because I would put on soft sweatpants and sit on the table and wiggle my bum across it to make sure it was really shiny. Haha.
13 WHAT CHORE DO YOU LIKE DOING THE LEAST?
J: cleaning the toilet
K: Not a big fan of cleaning the toilet.
14 FAV DESSERT?
J: black sesame mochi balls
15 FAV BUBBLE TEA FLAVOUR?
J: Honey Green Tea
K: Hard for me to pick just one! I have several that I rotate through. My current favourite would probably be almond or plain with pudding chunks.
16 FAV RESTAURANT?
J: Spaghetti Factory
K: Sushi Inn in Toronto. Do you remember I took you there when you were small? You chatted up the old lady sitting next to us. She thought you were so adorable and super polite. (She was right, of course!)
17 IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY CAR…WHAT WOULD IT BE?
K: Well, since I can’t drive, I guess I would pick a self-driving car. Those almost exist, you know.
18 FAV ANIMAL?
J: Boo the Dog
K: panda (duh) or wolf or monkey
19 IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE…WOULD YOU EAT ‘YELLOW’ SNOW OR HAVE A TRANTULA SIT ON YOUR HAND?
K: If I was forced to, I’d eat pee snow to avoid being ANYWHERE NEAR a giant deadly spider.
20 WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?
K: No way! I’d get so bored and lonely.
21 WHAT COUNTRY/CITY (NOT YOUR OWN) WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE IN?
K: I would love to live anywhere in Japan, at least for a little while, or somewhere on the west coast like Vancouver or Portland, Oregon.
22 STAR WARS OR STAR TREK?
J: Star Wars
K: Star Wars, Baby!! I do also really like Star Trek but I grew up with Star Wars. It’s in my blood.
23 MARVEL OR DC?
K: Marvel, for sure
24 SUPERMAN OR BATMAN?
K: Batman (Confession: I don’t like Superman at all.)
25 X-MEN OR AVENGERS?
J: tough one but X-men… Did you know that in the comics…the teams interchange members sometimes? Like Wolverine was an Avenger recently.
26 SUSHI OR STEAK?
K: Oooooooh. Tough call. Two of my favourites. I think steak, because as much as I do love sushi, steak is more filling and it usually comes with mashed potatoes which is my very favourite.
27 CANDY OR CHOCOLATE?
K: Both please? Haha. How about chocolate covered candy? Hahahaha.
28 WHITE CHOCOLATE OR DARK CHOCOLATE (NOT REGULAR MILK CHOCOLATE)?
K: Hmmm. I don’t really like either white or dark chocolate. Except I like Hershey Cookies n’ Cream, so I guess white.
29 SHORTS OR PANTS?
J: Sponge Bob Squareshorts
K: definitely pants
30 RAIN OR SUN?
31 STUFFY OR SOFT BLANKET?
K: Your uncle is the one who is all about the stuffies. I have a bunch, of course, but I don’t sleep with them or cuddle them much like he does. I have several blankets all over the place and I always curl up with one when I’m on the couch. I feel uncomfortable when I’m not under a blankie.
32 CUDDLES OR KISSES?
K: Cuddles. Kisses are slobbery. Haha.
33 SWIMMING OR BIKING?
J: Swim in the ocean.
K: I like riding bikes. I strongly dislike swimming. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before that I failed the first level of swimming lessons 3 TIMES before my mom let me quit.
34 X-MAS OR BIRTHDAYS?
K: I like Christmas better. I don’t like to be the focus of attention and Christmas is all about spending time with people you love.
35 SOCKS OR BAREFEET?
K: Hmmmm. I think I prefer to have my feet covered up (feet are ewwwwwwwww) but I’m VERY picky with the socks I wear.
36 POKEMON OR SUPER MARIO?
K: Pokémon! I love watching the old TV show with you. That was fun.
37 XBOX OR PLAYSTATION?
K: Haha. You know your Auntie can’t play video games at all. Just Rock Band.
38 HOCKEY OR BASKETBALL?
J: close one but Basketball
K: Ummmmmm…. neither? Haha. For watching, it depends on which one you are playing. I’d sit through a few of YOUR games to support you and cheer you on.
39 WOULD YOU EITHER LICK A BEE OR HAVE A CLOWN SLEEP UNDER YOUR BED.
J: Clown if it’s Krusty but not the “IT” clown… He’s creepy!
K: Lick a bee! I hate clowns. They are so scary.
40 PAPER CUT OR STUBBED TOE?
J: stubbed toe
K: I think I’d rather have a stubbed toe. I’ll tell you something about me you probably don’t know. When I was 17, I went to Disneyworld with my sister. I was invited up on stage for the audience participation part of a comedy show. On my way up, I stubbed the tip of my big toe on the cement stairs pretty bad (but I kept going cause I was excited! Haha). Ever since then, I have sort of a numb spot on that toe. So if so were to stub it now, I don’t think it would hurt as much anymore.
41 WHO ARE YOU FAV AUNTIE AND UNCLE? (THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION MAY ALTER THE AMOUNT OF GIFTS YOU GET FOR X-MAS). JUST KIDDING.
Just one more quick thing…
It was Uncle’s idea to write this quiz for you. He wanted to make our letter extra fun for you to read. He mentioned that the two of us used to fill out quizzes a lot when we were first getting to know each other. It’s a great way to find out things you didn’t know before – so maybe you learned something new about your auntie and uncle that you didn’t already know today too!
But, the more I thought about it, the more I also felt that by doing something unexpected and fun in our letter, it also summed up what I want most for you in your life and for the future. I want your life to be full of fun times and laughter and I want you to really get to know who you truly are and be whatever it is that you want to be.
Always remember, Uncle and I love you a lot and that will never change – no matter what!