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That Makes 10

In early September, I had a FaceTime call from my mom. It is fairly unusual for her to FaceTime me, because as much as I love her, she is technologically inept. It doesn’t matter how many times I teach her the tricks and tips… that woman’s phone goes off in church so much you’d think she was a doctor. I was getting ready to take a nap, and I thought about not answering, but I sat up in my bed, put on a smile, and hit that green button. I heard quiet whispers of, “Shhh it’s him!” and “What do I say?” before I quizzically said, “You know I can hear you?” Which was greeted by a subtle-scoff from someone off camera.

“Hey, Clay!” My mom said with a smile. I was slightly suspicious.

“Hello… everyone,” I noted, as my mom panned across the room as various family members greeted me. I saw my parents, my sister, Chelsea, and her husband, Garrett. Garrett and Chelsea had recently moved from Lubbock, Texas, the month before, so seeing them at the house was no strange occasion. After talking with the family for a minute or two about my day, I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The FaceTime camera shifted to Chelsea. She said, “Well, Clay, I was wondering if you had any plans around May 6th…” My entire family flashed knowing-smiles, and I immediately realized what was happening: we were going on vacation right after exams. Probably a tropical island, because why else would a vacation need planning this far in advance? I immediately processed I would need to get my passport renewed.

“Where we going?!” I happily proclaimed. “I don’t care where it is, I’ll be ready to go whenever and wherever, just tell me when.”

They laughed at me, but I didn’t understand why. Chelsea said, “Well we’re not going anywhere, but I was hoping you would be back in time to be an uncle.”

Cue jaw-drop.

“Awww really??” Everyone then reassured me of the good news. My sister was pregnant and I was going to be an uncle! I tried to brush that whole, “Where we going?” thing under the rug, but the damage (and laughter) was done. What can I say, I could really use a vacation?

The next part was the real challenge though: I was not to tell anyone about their exciting news. My sister was five weeks pregnant (the embryo being the size of an orange seed), and Garrett and Chelsea planned on waiting until the end of October to announce the news. When both my sisters were engaged, I had to wait a day or two before telling anyone. Engagements are more often than not predictable; people are happy to celebrate with the newly engaged couple, but this is not usually something that is a complete surprise.​​

I quickly realized my first duty as uncle: to ​​download the What To Expect app, and follow

along with Chelsea daily. The app comes with an Apple Watch version, so whenever I was bored in class (which is more often than I’d like to admit), I would touch the app and check the progress of the little thing. When people asked me about my family, it was all I could do not to tell them about Chelsea's baby in the works and show them its current fruit-size. But I bit my tongue. As time went on, however, my outlook changed. I had this sweet secret that I selfishly got to hold on to. As the baby’s size went from orange seed to raspberry to it’s now peach-size, my family and I got to be part of the exclusive club.

On October 31st, Chelsea told us that the cat (or baby in this case) was out of the bag and that we were free to tell whomever. They posted the most-fitting announcement, which incorporated Chelsea and Garrett’s respective alliances to The University of Tennessee Knoxville, and some small school in Nashville I had never heard of (Vander- something?).

I have included a picture of their announcement at the bottom of this piece. I can only assume Garrett and Chelsea simply forgot to include me in their announcement- but I fixed the problem.

Their baby will be the tenth addition to the Jeffries family and I cannot wait to meet it come May!

13 weeks down. 26 to go.

-CSJ (or Uncle Clay)

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