Grit Blogs > Arrows and Minnows

Anticipating the Arrival of My Niece

By Caleb Regan, Managing Editor


Tags: family, aging, children, niece,

A portrait of the author, Caleb Regan“It’s a …”

I received this text message from my brother, Josh, earlier today while I was at work and he was either sitting in, or just leaving, a doctors’ office. A minute later, his next response came, “Girl.” My brother and his wife, Nikki, will welcome a little baby girl into their family in August, God willing, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Josh and Nikki at the wedding

Sometimes in life, we’re hit with one of those moments that make you take a step back and go, “This is going by fast.” Usually, it’s holidays and birthdays and dates that make us remember loved ones that have passed on. In this case, it’s a great feeling to be getting older.

And it felt even better to get the next message from Josh, saying, “It looked really healthy.”

There are many things that I’m looking forward to doing with my niece and her Daddy: watching football, grilling out, hunting and fishing … it turns out I don’t do a lot of the things little girls do, but you know what?! I’ll give anything a try to earn the affection of this particular little girl.

And she just might have a little tomboy in her. (Though knowing Nikki, I wouldn't count on her noodling for catfish.) After all, her dad came from a family of four boys and one girl – our mom – so I think Dad’s in about the same situation as me. We don’t know what, exactly, little girls are like.

I’ve never seen anything wrong with little girls being tomboys. My girlfriend’s siblings include her two sisters and no boys, so her dad raised her to hunt and fish. That turned out to be pretty cool for me because she understands and appreciates what I love to do.

It wouldn’t be a good thing, though, if she were better at my hobbies than me.

But I digress …

I know there’s the typical answer of playing with dolls, but for all the women out there, or for the fathers who have daughters, can I get some help? What do little girls do?

In the meantime, I’ll be thinking and praying about the health of that little, hope-she-doesn’t-look-like-her-dad, girl.


Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .

hank will_2
4/20/2009 1:23:35 PM

Hey Sherry -- I could write a book about all the different things Erin, Alaina and I did together when they were small. These days we don't go fishing but we do get together a couple of times a year to cook and eat and sit around a campfire at the farm. I wouldn't trade any of those experiences, not even the ones where I had exasperated them to tears, or made them upset by saying no. I could write another book on all the wonderful things that the girls taught me about life, unconditional love and communication style differences between the genders.


sherry 'woodswoman'
4/18/2009 9:56:31 PM

Caleb ~ I posted my current Blog "The Catch" because of your post. I hope it shows you how girls don't always fit the stereotype. ;) Hank ~ Your post reply brought me to tears. I envisioned my dear father writing those words. My father, Chuck, passed away at age 60, very suddenly, but with dignity from brain cancer. He was a Woodsman. He saw more sunsets and sunrises from a boat or stream than a dozen men put together. I know your daughters treasure you, just as I treasured every moment, of every day of my life with my father. Sherry http://www.grit.com/blogs/blog.aspx?blogid=3456


ken romero
4/14/2009 3:06:20 PM

Regan, I know you really well and you'll be fine with your niece. She'll be overly loved (and protected) by all the Regan men. She'll just be another addition to the Regan clan that loves the outdoor life. She'll be right there with all the Regan men wanting to do whatever her daddy and uncles are doing. She'll be the best little tomboy around. Show her unconditional love and all will be good. Congrats to you, Joshua and Nikki.


lori
4/14/2009 6:47:50 AM

Hi Caleb! How exciting for you to become an Uncle! I have 6 nieces and 1 nephew! Little girls are great fun. It has been my experience that girls like to do a very wide variety of things. My own daughter, Ashten, liked her Barbie Dolls, but she also liked to play in the creek trying to catch crayfish or tadpoles with no care about getting dirty! She liked those pretty glittery stickers and books, but she also loved to go squirrel hunting. It pretty much doesn't matter what you do, they will have fun if you involve them, so don't fret! Your niece will love her Uncle Caleb just for spending time with her!


cregan
4/9/2009 4:57:54 PM

Hank - Reading your post enthuses and excites me. Those are the things typically not associated with little girls. I can't wait to see my brother's baby girl hanging with her daddy. Julie - Thanks for reading and commenting. Sometimes – actually, a lot of the time – I wish I could sew better. I know gender doesn't matter, but us Regans have been a clan of males except for Momma for as long as I can remember. So each addition of a female is startling to us. Just kidding – thanks for the congrats.


julie-t
4/8/2009 10:45:33 AM

Congrats to the whole Regan gang! Of course girls like to do the "boy" stuff. Like playing catch and learning to build things. It won't matter WHAT you do, it's just the DOING that will win them over Uncle Caleb. Just bring your patience. I have brothers who like to sew. Don't get caught up in the gender stuff. Oh---and make sure to READ to her!


hank will_1
4/7/2009 5:16:54 PM

Hey Caleb -- As a dad of only girls, I can tell you that they will line up to go on an early season fishing trip when the northerns are running. They will beat you to the pickup truck when there's a camping trip about to happen. They will even lay on the cold concrete floor in the shop and hand you tools when you are covered with oil, grease and diesel fuel while changing filters on the tractor. Some of them will fall into the creek and get their long blonde hair caked with mud chasing after a frog. They will eagerly spend a day or three on the tractor moving big round bales from the hay meadow to the bale yard. They will do all of that and they will love you unconditionally, even though you might not always say the things to them that they want you to say. Girls are just great.