“Who are you again?”
My three-year old asked my sister-in-law while sitting on her lap on a ferry at Walt Disney World ushering them from the Animal Kingdom to Epcot Center in the early evening. It was a mild October night and they were off to meet my husband and oldest child who were already in the Disney Park that was the designated destination that night. I was back at the hotel with our youngest – who had the croup. He was just over a year old.
Naturally, the other people on the ferry stared at my sister-in-law who was holding a child that asked who she was! Was this a case of abduction? Why didn’t this child know who he was with on the ferry?
Well, firstly, you need to realize this WAS a three-year old. Three year olds are pretty concrete and smart ones ask an awful lot of questions. Secondly, my sister-in-law lived in Buffalo, New York and met us in Florida for this trip. We live in Wisconsin. She was (and still is) our most constant visitor, but still, weekly visits with her nephews were something that just did not happen in our family. To top it all off, our three year old had mistakenly called her “Grandma Mary” during a prior visit, and the nickname stuck – even though he had two “real” grandmas. So, Aunt Mary was often referred to, and reacted to, the Grandma Mary nickname. Thus, some confusion ensued when he went with Aunt Mary on the ferry to meet his Dad and brother while I stayed back at the hotel. On this trip, we had started to correct him and tell him that this was Aunt Mary not Grandma Mary. We think that what he was really asking her was, are you Grandma Mary or Aunt Mary? But, when the strangers on the ferry heard, “Who are you?” I am sure it piqued some well deserved concern and curiosity.
Upon the ferry’s arrival at dockside in Epcot, my husband was waiting and was greeted with an excited, “Daddy!” as my sister-in-law and three-year old exited the boat. Still, to this day, she can recount the relieved faces in the crowd that had over heard the concerning remark of “who are you again?” while traveling on the ferry.
This story has been a family favorite for years.
Today, it is appropriate to share as this same pair of traveller’s – my sister-in-law and former three-year old son, who is now 18 years old – are traveling together once again. Their travels will be farther and more exciting than a mere twenty-minute ferry-boat ride as they will jet across the ocean to visit a foreign country – a place of his choosing – as her graduation gift to him. I am sure he will not ask, “Who are you again?” but, instead be comfortable in his conversation with his beloved Aunt who has been a constant presence in his life – even if he was not quite sure what to call her when he was three!