My nephew Zackary turned 14 today.
I watched my sister and my brother in law exchange glances while their 14 year old son opened birthday gifts from his family. I wondered if they felt as odd about the fact that they have a 14 year old son as I did about the fact that I have a 14 year old nephew.
When I was 14 my sister and I had already shared all our young reckless sister moments. Most of the more memorable ones shared way before my 14th birthday. When I turned 14 she was graduating from high school and was already in a serious relationship with Terry, her now husband.
Zackary has had his childhood. He's starting a new chapter in his life. This fills me with pride and sadness.
He won't see his childhood for what it was until much later on in his life. He won't look back on the memories of him and his sister Ashley and reflect until his life has quieted. Until his path is being traveled rather then being charted.
When I was 14 I started going on group dates and experienced my first real kiss. I also felt rejection for the first time. I felt ugly most of the time. And while I hadn't yet entered the realm of sex I wasn't considerably far from it either.
Angst. Deep-seeded spiritual condition of insecurity and fear.
Adolescence. is a transitional stage. an in-between stage.
I remember a lot of good times being a teenager but I remember crying a lot more.
The part of me that is his Aunt watches with reservation. I observe. I cheer him on and support him unconditionally just more from a distance now then before.
I know our hugs will become less frequent as will his childish ways. His voice is already more of a mans then a child's. I know it won't be long before he asks Uncle Darren and I if it's alright to invite his girlfriend over to a party or a gathering we're having at our house. I know it won't be long before I hear the honk of his horn as he heads out to meet his friends on a Friday night.
I know it won't be long before it is one of my sons doing the same things. I know it all happens so fast and it will be here before I know it.
What a journey Zackary begins as he turns the page. All those firsts. All those new plots and characters that will reveal themselves. All that adventure.
At times I know I will watch in envy for it is all new to him. Easier for me to say then him I'm sure. My experiences and lessons have been learned. He has no idea what's in store or what to expect.
I miss the first time butterflies feeling. I haven't had them in some time.
Jacek won't turn 14 for more then 10 years. Aidan will be 12, on the cusp.
My sister is 36. I will be 42 when I have a 14 year old teenage boy in my house.
I can't even begin to imagine.
By then, Zackary will be 24. Maybe he'll be able to guide Jacek a long the road of adolescence. Maybe Zackary will share a lesson learned.
Hopefully Zackary will be happy. Very happy.
I hope it's a page turner every step of the way.