My nephew was born the day before my high school graduation. I was not quite eighteen and not excited about having a nephew. My sister was nineteen, and I was getting ready to head off to college, so I obviously had the world figured out (in my mind). My sister’s pregnancy was a real drag on my senior year — her baby shower was the same night as my prom. My mom constantly told me that if she went into labor during any of my important events (band awards, concerts, graduation), she would not be there. I was so resentful.
But then…then I held that little baby boy with the cone-shaped head (from being stuck before the doctor decided a c-section was best), and I was in love. I would come home from work at Chick-fil-A, grab him from his crib, hold him, and cry about how much I would miss him. My dorm room walls were plastered with baby pictures. I wanted to move home and attend the local community college because I missed him so much.
Once, when I came home for the weekend, I was so excited to see that sweet baby boy and hold him. I immediately scooped him up when I came through the door, and he burst into tears, crying and reaching out for my mom. I was devastated. Although I didn’t leave the college I was attending, I came home at every opportunity and spent as much time as possible with him.
This sweet boy got a sister when he was about 2.5 years old, and I moved home the following year. I loved bringing them to the movies, playing with them, picking them up from school, and just doing anything with them. Even when I went back to school to get my Juris Doctorate, I came home at least one weekend every month and had them come to visit me during spring break.
Years passed, and this boy turned into a teenager. He wasn’t as excited about hanging out or hugging, but he was still that sweet boy deep down. He’s had a rough time the past few years, but who didn’t have a lot of drama in their lives as teenagers? He likes to play video games…as much as possible. While he isn’t big on social interaction with his family right now, it makes me so happy when he plays with my toddler or helps out with the babies. I see him smile at them, and I can see that sweet little dimple-cheeked boy who stole my heart so many years ago.
Well, 18 years to the day that I graduated, I was privileged to watch this little boy, this man…an actual 18-year old adult, walk across the same stage at the same high school and graduate! We weren’t sure he’d make it through, but he pulled it off! I am so proud of him and the wonderful adult that he is going to be. I know that he will do great things once he realizes that he can.
Based on how I feel now, I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel when my toddler and babies graduate. It’s times like these when I really remind myself to cherish the moments (and take lots of pictures).