When I was young, my Grandpa’s brother would always bring story books when he came a-visiting. Today many things have been forgotten and he is no more, but he stays stuck in my head as a memory: the “cool” person who’d always bring me books.

A few days ago, Cecilia (the nicest Swede ever) invited me to her home for dinner. She has two children. Axel is 7 and Clara is 6. While pondering what to take with me, the thrilling realization dawned that my turn has come. I could be somebody elses “cool uncle” who brings them books. Whereupon I spent almost one hour is the childrens section of a local bookstore wondering what a 6-7 year old would find interesting. Eventually I settled on “Mina äventyrssagor” a book of tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm for Axel and Nalle Puh – Skatten (Winnie-the-Pooh The Treasure) for Clara. It was the childrens edition with large fonts and pretty pictures. Hope they like it.

Time for a tangential rant: I don’t think kids read enough these days, what with TV and video games. Some of my best memories are of me and my sister sitting side-by-side and reading a book together because I couldn’t wait till she was done reading it. [Yes, I was a pig..] Mother would be annoyed to no end when I refused to eat, sunk in a good book or tried reading and eating at the same time. Much of what I am today, is because of the tons of books I’ve devoured since an early age. Then I can’t help feeling old & grumpy when I look at the kids of today. Dratted SMS generation. Now get off my lawn! End of rant. But if I can catch ’em young and get ’em hooked.. that will surely be a good thing.

So we had a most pleasant dinner and conversation and then went to the City Hall garden to let the kids run around a bit. It felt so great watching them play silly games, jump into fountains, trying to walk on a rail..children are the same all over the world! And while returning, when both of them climbed a tree, I had a sudden rush of nostalgia.

I can’t wait for my nephew to grow up a bit. There are so many things we could do together.. and I will be the cool Uncle 🙂