My Little Prince Becomes a Man

 age 9 months
Tomorrow, this little guy turns 18 years old.  I was 15 when my sister had him.  He has been one of the brightest lights in my life and watching him grow from the most adorable, sweetest baby ever to a surprisingly articulate toddler to a gifted and strangely compassionate little boy to a rather awesome young man has been one of the truest joys I've known.

Here are just a handful of highlights.
First words: "Bottle-Bottle-Bottle." (Said exactly correctly.  Bah-tuhl, repeated 3 times.)

Age: Just turned 5:
Me, holding a group of plastic dinosaurs: "You want to play Peter Pan?"
Him, giving me a condescending "duh" look: "No, I left that all behind with my youth."

Age: About 6:
The night before Christmas Eve, he and my sister are staying at my mom's with us.  Because of limited space, my sister is sleeping on the couch and *Jonah sleeps next to me in my queen bed.  I'm singing silent night to help ease him to sleep.  He presses his hands to my cheeks and says: "Aunt Becky, it's time to go to sleep now, okay?"

Age: 9:
I'm hanging out with his mom at her place, he has just walked in, getting home from his first day of school:
Me: Hey, how was school? 
Him: Fine, except a sixth grader called me stupid and pushed me down at recess.
Me: (Feeling furious, like I want to find that little 6th grader and push HIM down and teach him what stupid is, but you know, I can't do that, because I'm an adult....) "Oh man, that sucks.  Are any of your friends in your class?"
Him: (Genuinely confused.) "They're all my friends, Aunt Becky.  Even the ones who don't know it."

Age 15:
I've bumped into him at Target; he is telling me the story of how his grandma has no sense of boundaries and just no shame and no respect for his space.  The tone of him expressing this is grave, disgusted, and outraged.  
Him: "...She just....went ahead and didn't bother asking me before doing it and I can't believe it - like - what was she even thinking?" 
At this point, I can't help but think his grandmother has done something truly awful, like she walked into his bedroom without knocking and he was changing clothes or something.  I'm getting truly concerned. 
Me: "Well, what did she do?"
Him: "She came up to me and put her arm around me (demonstrates a half-hug) like this."
Me: .........
Him: In public!!!

Ah yes.  And over the years I watched him go from the boy who dressed up as Darkwing Duck (a show we both enjoyed) or Frankenstein on Halloween to the young man having pizza delivery and horror-movie marathons to being the guy who recommends the newest in horror comedy, the one person who enjoys zombie flicks as much as I do.
He's gone from being the baby whose first question was "What's this?" while pointing at anything and everything and listening intently while I read my high school text books to him while I babysat...to now he is the one teaching me computer tricks and recommending good books to read.

He's only my nephew, but in so many ways, he's been a ray of sunshine and I'm so proud watching him become a man....but a small part of me still sees him as that little guy covered in chocolate and dirt who tells me not to worry about the (ridiculously huge) spider on the picnic bench because it's okay, "I flattened him with my hand."






8 comments :

  1. Wow. He sounds like an amazing guy. It is amazing how fast they grow up. It freaks me out to see my friend's kids grow up; they all started way earlier than I did and now have high schoolers!!! Blows my mind....

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  2. goodness you have given me an idea of what my future holds! Young teenagers wondering where time went and still seeing them as gorgeous toddlers. Lovely post from beautifully proud Auntie. Such a lucky boy he is. xx

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  3. Aw, love this so much! The relationship that you seem to have with him is just too adorable :) I think an aunt/nephew (or niece) bond is something really special, different than a with the parent or even the grandma.

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  4. Not "only" your nephew. HE'S YOUR NEPHEW! Congrats Aunt Becky! And congrats not-so-little Jonah!

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