I'm in Dallas, TX this week to celebrate my nephew's high school graduation. I'm not exactly sure when he grew up but it is pretty shocking to look at him. He is heading off to University of Arkansas in the fall.
In addition to celebrating with Ben, my sister's son is here with his relatively new wife whom I had not met until yesterday. They live in Brazil so we don't get a lot of chances to see them. I'm so glad that I've finally gotten to meet her. She is delightful! I'm not sure what she sees in Kevin but I guess love really is blind.
It is interesting how family relationships work out over the years. In my immediate family, I'm closest with my oldest sister. This is true even though I was only 6 years old when she moved out of the house to get married. We didn't really get to know each other until after we became adults. I spend a fair amount of time with her either at my house in Baltimore or at her house in Dallas. Sisters are fun, for sure.
It isn't that I'm not close with my other siblings as much as it is that I just don't get many opportunities to see them. We are spread out all over the country and for whatever reason, Fran and I just make more efforts than anyone else.
Back to Ben...He is a super kid. He played high school baseball and has always be a bit of a sport freak. We were laughing last night remembering how he used to drive us crazy when he was younger because he just wouldn't (couldn't) sit still. Now, he is very laid back and it is sometimes difficult to get him off the couch. Ben, I'm very proud of you and of who you are becoming. It has been great to be on the sidelines watching you grow and change with every year. Well done.
To Ben's parents (my niece Tracy and her husband Jeff)... Well done too. You have managed to raise a responsible, well-rounded young man of whom you can be very proud. I know you worry about him going off to college in the fall but I predict that he will do fine. You never think your kids are ready to be on their own. Your lives will be changing dramatically as well. No more sporting events. No more date nights. No more going upstairs 15 times in the morning to make sure Ben gets out of bed. Although he won't need you as much as he has in the past, I know from experience that you will never stop worrying about him. You'll wonder what he is doing on the weekend. You'll wonder who he is dating. You'll wonder whether he'll be able to drag his ass out of bed in the morning, Even so, you've transferred all those responsibilities to him. You're new role is to sit on the sidelines and make sure you are there when he needs help or a shoulder to lean on. Without a doubt, Ben will be making his own way in this world. You can rest easy knowing that you've prepared him well.