It’s always a special occasion when you come for a visit.

The scene is the same each time: little faces pressed against the living room window long after they’re supposed to be in bed, because the anticipation of seeing you is too much for their excited hearts to handle.

When you finally walk through the door, you’re no longer a savvy businessman or determined entrepreneur . . . you’re just Uncle Mike, and you’re here to play.

In case I’ve never come right out and said it—thank you, brother, for being the perfect uncle to my kids.

It’s a true blessing the way you dive right into the chaos that is our family’s life.

You don’t hesitate to throw on a firefighter hat and dash around the house taking orders from a 3-year-old chief. You’re a sucker for the “gain?” requests of a 2-year-old who wants to hear his favorite book for the fifth time in a row. You’re wrapped around the finger of a tiny baby girl who you stare down at, absolutely mesmerized.

I’ll find you picking up scattered toys, or helping our sons wash their hands before dinner, or gently soothing the baby’s cries while we’re getting food on the table. Without being asked, you offer your hand in all of the ways that make our lives just a little bit easier.

The love you have for my kids is written all over your face, and these little ones? They adore you right back—it’s plain to see.

It’s in the way your name comes up in their conversations almost daily, or how each time you send them a video, they watch it on repeat until the phone battery gets too low. It’s in the special squeals of laughter reserved just for playtime with you.

You’re the perfect uncle now, and I know as these littles of ours grow, the bond you share with them will grow, too.

A few years down the road, you’ll be in the backyard teaching them to throw a perfect spiral like you did back in your quarterbacking days. Your number will be on speed dial when they have a tough math problem they can’t work through.

Yours will be the inside joke I’m left shrugging my shoulders over as you and the kids burst into giggles.

It’ll be you they go to when they need advice from someone other than Mom or Dad. You’ll be the confidante who holds their secrets tightly and points them in the right direction when they’re unsure which way to go.

You’ll challenge them to find a passion and be relentless in pursuit of their dreams.

Uncles have this way of effortlessly stealing the hearts of their nieces and nephews. Almost without meaning to, they slide into the position of greatest role model and friend, which is just what you’ve done.

You’re a picture of kindness, hard work, and respect . . . and the very best example I could ever hope for my children to have. If they grow up to be anything like you—what a gift they’ll be to this world.

The uncle you are to my babies gives me a glimpse of just how lucky your own kids will be to call you “Daddy”someday. When that time comes, I hope as an aunt, I can live up to all of the ways you’ve loved our family during this season of life.

Big brother, you’ve been my very best friend for so many years, and what an honor it is to get to share you now with the three pint-sized humans I love the most.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the journey of a young wife and mom; the good, the bad, and always the real. When she's not writing, Casey is likely to be yelling COME DOWN FROM THERE! or DON'T LICK YOUR BROTHER!, and procrastinating on the housework.  To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward