Yesterday morning, at about 3:30am, my phone chirruped at me from the bedside table. Confused as only the suddenly-awake can be, I looked at the new message, put the phone back down and laid my head on the pillow.
But things had changed. The message was telling me that I had become an uncle. Well, if we're being accurate, it was actually informing me of the birth of brother number one's daughter, but you get the point. (On a related point, it is now technically impossible to buy anything coloured pink from shops in the Birmingham area. That'll be my mom's fault. Sorry about that).
So now what? I've never been an uncle before. What's the drill - do I have particular responsibilities to fulfil? And if I get my uncling wrong (that's the right term, isn't it?) do I get reported to OFUNC? Brother number two and I probably need to get our heads together on this one.
I'm tempted by the role of Fun Uncle. You know the deal - show up, get my niece all wound up, fill her with e-numbers and fizzy pop, then hand her back to her doting parents as they look daggers at me. I can be the one to tell her, when she's old enough to understand, about all the cringeworthy things her dad has done in the past. This may take some time.
At some point at a family event in the distant future, I will be required to dance really badly, mortally embarrassing the poor child. I think I've got this one covered.
The good thing is that I'll have an excuse to go and see kids' movies. It's considered bad form for grown adults to see Disney on their own. The bad news is that my niece may want taking to whatever is the equivalent of Hannah Montana in 14 years time. I know blood is thicker than water, but there are limits, you know.
Of course, there is a serious aspect to all of this. For instance, I'm reliably informed that uncles are supposed to be wise and fair. To provide advice and support to the child, to give moral guidance and help them navigate this difficult world.
Oh blimey. Pass the Pepsi.