Anyway as I watched him get pics taken with his super cute date and a whole horde of kids, my heart ached. Here I am watching my "little" nephew (who stands head and shoulders above me and outweighs me by a hundred pounds) embark on one of life's iconic moments. I wondered how it could be possible? Wasn't it just yesterday that I sat in an El Paso hospital with my MHS sweatshirt on, sporting teased bangs that defied gravity; waiting to hear that my first nephew had safely arrived? How is it possible that he is now the age I was then??? Ouch.
Time has flown by and over the years he has grown into a kind hearted guy who consistently makes good choices. He is comfortable in his own skin and doesn't seem to worry much about what the crowd thinks. I know I am a biased aunt, but I simply couldn't be prouder of him. I really couldn't.
As I watched him enjoy his night, I found myself thinking about what lies ahead for him, and for all those kids. They are venturing into the college years which are some of the funnest times in life... But they are also toeing the line of adulthood. And with that comes responsibility, independence, choices (and the consequences of those choices experienced like never before).
With all the fun that's ahead there will be an equal amount of disappointment. For every time he laughs so hard his sides hurt, there will be a time he wants to punch a hole in the wall. For each moment his heart feels whole, there will be a moment when he feels uncertain and alone. And as his aunt who still sees him as five year old, I battle this instinct to pray that he won't have to endure the inevitable "other side of the coin."
But I know in my bones that it's in the living of both the goods and bads that we become who we are. That he will transform into the man he's meant to be only by living on the mountaintop and in the valley. It's a hard truth to swallow, but we can all vouch for it's validity simply by looking at our own journey.
So as we said a quick goodbye to him as he prepared to head to a fancy pre-Prom dinner, we were pointedly yet kindly dismissed ("mom, yall can go now." Which is code for "leave, leave, leave"). As we drove away leaving a mass of bright faces and excited chatter behind, I silently wished them all the ability to understand that right there, in that very moment of time, they were on a "mountaintop."