Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Thirteen Year-Old in My Life

My friend Cathy has a nephew for whom she has become the legal guardian. His name is Chris, he's been in her care for about a year and a half now.
Chris and I have spent a lot of time together, we fly kites, play mini-golf, go to the driving range, shoot pool, fish, ride scooters, hike, go to the movies, have movie night at my house, play video games, drive around singing songs in the car, you get the idea. He goes away to school now, and I don't get to see him as much as I'd like. When I do, he's taller and older and it's always amazing to me how quickly he's changing and growing
The other day, I got a call from Cathy explaining she had something planned all day and into the evening, that she couldn't take him to. She told me that when she asked Chris who he'd like her to call, he requested me. She said, "He thinks you're just the coolest." I said, "Of all your friends, I am!"
I picked Chris up at 5 and we kicked around what we'd like to do for fun. He wanted to watch a movie. He'd grown, and I think his voice is starting to change. We went to the grocery store and picked up stuff to make root beer floats, and frozen pizza. While talking to Chris I noticed his speech has become so lazy and sloppy I could hardly understand him. Okay became OA, if you say it real fast. He talks in the typical droning way, with little or no inflection. He was telling me a baseball story, and when he stopped talking, I realized he'd reached the end of the story and it was my turn. Panicked I said, "And when was this?" We picked it up from there.
We hung out, made dinner, I showed him the bird nest and the babies. When the sun was setting we watched the bats circle in the back yard. He jumped up and easily touched a beam in my kitchen he used to have to take a running start to try to touch. We made our root beer floats and watched his requested movie, Semi-Pro with Will Farrell which was funny in that Will Farrell way, but the content was a tad mature for a thirteen year old at points. Chris did his level best to not make me feel uncomfortable about that. He's a good boy. When we said goodbye he wanted his hug as always, and I picked him up off the ground when I hugged him, as always. "I can still pick you up. " I declared, and smiled, wondering how much longer that will be possible.