you can grow up. i’ve decided it’s okay.

When I found out my best friend was pregnant almost three years ago (has it really been that long?) in November of 2013, I remember thinking in the back of my mind “Oh, my best friend is pregnant. That’s just…what she is now.” It wasn’t an active thought or anything, and obviously I knew my best friend didn’t have a never-ending gestation period, but I couldn’t picture a baby being part of our lives.

The first time he felt really, really real to me was when I felt him kick me. He held out for a while on that, too, but after that it hit me. Oh, hey. There’s a little person and he’ll be here soon.

Then she gave birth, and that was it for me. People tell me you can’t possibly know love until you have a child of your own, but I’ve gotta say they’re crazy because I love my nephew in a way I’ve never loved anyone or anything, and he’s not even biologically related to me. So then I thought, “OK, we’ve got a baby now. He’s going to always be a baby”, in the back of my mind. Sure, babies grow up quick, but not my nephew. Time’s gotta stop, because he’s tiny and perfect. He curls up in my arms and sleeps, and sometimes smiles at me. He will never get bigger.

I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life! I blinked and here we are, almost 2.5 years later, and he’s…well, I watched him climb a ladder at the park last week all by himself, and it blew my damn mind. He’s got likes and dislikes, and he laughs at all the corny stuff I do, and he’s a fierce little ball of fire and personality.

My point is, I spent a lot of time either thinking or praying he wouldn’t grow up; I prayed he would stay small forever. However, this year has shown me that nothing is guaranteed, and all I want in life is for my nephew to grow up. I want him to see, experience and do everything he could ever want in life. I want a lifetime of seeing him smile, hearing his stories, and loving him. I want to share books and movies with him and see the amazing person he’s going to be. I don’t want to live my life afraid of him growing up, or of time passing, because it’s sure as hell going to pass no matter what I want. I want to focus on the experiences, not spend them in quiet existential crisis. Seeing him grow is an incredible experience I couldn’t describe to anyone before.

So grow up, little dude. Don’t do it so fast, but make sure you do it, and don’t let me miss any of it.

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