"Uncle Craig!" Matt yelled, as he jumped into my arms. "We had to drive like forever to get here."
"How's my favorite nephew?" I asked, as I hugged him, then I hugged my brother with my free arm, before hugging my sister-in-law Chelsea.
"Guess what, Uncle Craig," Matt whispered in my ear. "I'm going to have a baby brother or sister."
"Matt just can't keep a secret," James laughed.
"He reminds me of someone else that I know," I teased. "I'm happy that he got his good looks from his mother. Chelsea, you're more beautiful every time I see you."
"You're just saying that because you're my brother-in-law," Chelsea said. "You know, it's really good knowing that we have a pediatrician in the family. How's your residency going?"
"It's going great," I said. "It's hard to believe that I've already completed one year of residency."
"Uncle Craig, where is Uncle Justin?" Matt asked.
"He'll be home soon," I said. "He's still on duty at the hospital."
Maybe a bit of explanation would be in order here... Justin applied for and received an Indian Health Service Scholarship, and was admitted to the University of Kansas Medical School. He was in his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center when I was there for one of my clinical rotations. We became close friends and then lovers.
Justin was assigned to the Claremore, Oklahoma Indian Hospital as part of his scholarship payback. I was offered a pediatric residency at Saint Francis Children's Hospital in nearby Tulsa. We were both busy, but still managed to spend some quality time together.
James finished his veterinary education at Kansas State University, and would soon be taking over Dr. Schuler's practice. He and Chelsea moved into the farm house after Mom and Dad moved into town. They bought a house only a block from Grandma's apartment. The insurance business had grown to a point that Dad was able to hire another agent, and was thinking of hiring a third one.
Dan married Nicole's fourth grade teacher. Nicole's new mom was a positive influence on her; she decided to become a teacher and will graduate from Emporia State University with a degree in Elementary Education. She's engaged to a great guy she met at the university.
Uncle Jason and Uncle Ryan never got to adopt Derek, but he lived with them until he graduated from high school and is now a freshman at the University of Kansas. His mother was found three years after he came to live with Uncle Ryan and Uncle Jason, but she never attempted to regain custody. For all practical purposes, Derek is Uncle Jason and Uncle Ryan's son. He grew up to be a handsome well adjusted young man, and quite the lady's man, I might add.
We're all doing well and looking forward to the future.