I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. My brother called from Vancouver in the wee hours of the morning to tell me that I was an aunt and my nephew had safely entered the world. I was living in Ontario and felt like I was a world away but somehow felt like I was in the room with him at the same time. That phone call came 16 years ago.
Tonight our family gathered at my nephew’s restaurant of choice to not only celebrate the auspicious occasion of his 16th birthday but also the successful completion of level one of our graduated licensing system for new drivers. Yes, local friends stay off the sidewalks, my nephew is behind the wheel.
It was a numbing experience watching their familiar vehicle turn onto the road that led to the restaurant and not see my sister-in-law behind the wheel. TJ held the very proper pose of hands at 10 and 2 and didn’t even flinch when his dad lobbed a snowball at the car and hit it squarely in the middle of the driver’s door. You could feel the pride, and some relief, radiating from his 16-year-old face as he crossed the parking lot.
As I write this post, their family has returned home and, at his request, TJ is out driving around our small town taking his dog “Zoey Hot Wheels” for a car ride. I’m sure it is the first of many trips they will share with him behind the wheel and I couldn’t feel more proud of his smooth transition into the next phase of his life. Happy birthday Buddy!!