As many of you know, I have nephews, nieces and two great nephews. Marcus and Max are my great-nephews and are the children of my nephew, Ben and his wonderful wife Jen (West Egg fame). When they had Marcus almost 7 years ago, I went from being a great aunt to being a Great Aunt. Finally, the crown is in its rightful place!
The best gift my brother and sister have given me, is full and complete access to their kids. I get to be the fabulous, fun-loving, break-all-the-rules influence in their lives. I did all the important things like keep them up way past bedtime when they stayed at my house, take them to Six Flags and ride EVERY ride, and I was trusted to take the oldest, Benjamin, with me when he was 12 to East Berlin before the wall was down.
I take this role of Aunt very seriously.
When it was time to go, MARTA was the transit of choice! But, it was more than a ride on the bus, a train, and a transfer. This was his first exposure to getting around his hometown on mass transit. To him, trains and busses are something you do on vacation-in New York or Portland, not Atlanta; not at home.
I am excited because this was my opportunity share my love for mass transit and to teach him about the correlation between people on mass transit and cars on the road. He already lives environmentally aware at home. He gets it at school, too. He attends the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified school in the city of Atlanta. I love to hear him talk about the potato he grew on the roof, how he looks forward to second grade because they get to go to the green roof more frequently, how he recycles at lunch, and I know he is getting the benefits of geothermal heating and air-conditioning, daylighting, and improved indoor air quality (IAQ).
So, while sitting at the bus stop, we played a game of cars. We talked about how cars with more than one person in them are helping save the planet, and cars with only one are not doing their part.
He began to point out, ‘good car, bad car’. My heart sang! ‘But what about the hybrids like mommies car?’ Smart kid.
When we got on the bus, we talked about how the number of people on the bus equaled the number of cars off the road. He did the math and counted how many cars were not on the road. When we got on the train, same thing only this time, we thought, ‘what if everyone on the train use to ride share with 2 in the carpool?’ Ah, the classroom teacher in me awakens and the Aunt is so proud. He counts; we divide by 2.
‘That’s a lot of cars not driving and we only counted our train!’
Can life get any better than this?
I don’t think so!