I love birthdays. In the short few months since starting this blog, I’ve written an inordinate amount about birthdays, that’s how much I love them.
And so it is that this week, I’m thinking about the birthday of my nephew, Christopher. If he’s been following this blog, he’s probably thinking I’m going to write about his birthday, as well. After all, just last week I wrote about his sister, so why wouldn’t I?
Maybe he’s imagining I’ll tell you about the time he needed to get ready for daycare but was flicking pieces of cereal against the box instead. When my sister (his mom) asked him what he was doing, in that tone that implied “get moving little man” he calmly said,
“I’m testing inertia, what does it look like I’m doing?”
She stifled her laughter and I waited until they finally left so I could look up inertia in the dictionary to verify I’d understood what this four-year old was saying.
Or, perhaps he’s thinking I’ll write about the time when he told me he wanted to become a weatherman.
“Well, that’s interesting. I didn’t know you were interested in science,” I said to my then seven or eight year old nephew.
“Oh, I’m not.”
“Then why pursue it?”
“Because,” he said, “I’ve figured out it is the only job where you can consistently make things up and nobody gets mad.”
He had a point.
Then again, I could write about the fact that when he turns 25 this week, that for a brief blip in time, I will be exactly twice his age, thanks to a wonderful alignment of the stars. I don’t feel twice his age, but that is because I’m not very grown up and keep forgetting that I’m actually 50. My maturity stalled somewhere around the fourth grade, but I’m okay with that.
Alternatively, I might choose to write about how we tried to figure out ways that I could visit him when he was in the Army. In Iraq. And we actually got pretty close to devising a plan for me to get a work trip through the United Nations – my former employer – to Baghdad. In the end it didn’t pan out but he did suggest that even the fact that I would try was pretty cool. That’s how I roll; visiting a nephew in the midst of chaos is kind of up my alley. But it wasn’t meant to be. I only made it to Jordan or maybe Syria on that trip, but alas, I digress.
Nah, instead, I think I’ll just share a piece that he and I worked on together (using a pen name) about his time in Iraq and the sounds of war.
Much as I dislike military and all things related, I am immensely proud of my nephew for sticking to his beliefs and acting on his need to serve. And, of course, I have even stronger feelings about how relieved I am that he made it back last year and is now on to the next chapters of his life. Not every aunt of a soldier is afforded that luxury and I am eternally grateful for his safe return and so much more.
I love him dearly, this amazing man, and will flick cereal with him any day to discuss inertia, the unpredictability of weather or the love of family. Happy Birthday Christopher!