This wonderful guy came into our lives 12 years ago. It is tough to believe that much time has gone by. When I reflect on all of the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) life experiences during that time, I can't help but focus on him being a part of all that.
I remember the first time I held him in my arms and wished the very, very best for him. He's not only my nephew, but also my godson. While he shouldn't be treated any differently than my other nephews or niece, he is because of that reason. The day I held him in my arms and committed to that part of his life, was the day I was forever changed. It was the first day that I no longer cared for my own future, but I had him to think about. He's grown so very much over the years and it warms my heart to not only witness it firsthand, but to also see how much of a gentleman he's turning out to be.
This year he wanted to have his birthday party at a skating rink. I know he had invited about a dozen kiddos and my sister planned for 10, including his sister and little Mari (who wouldn't have counted as a skater). Three of his friends showed, and while some kids would've been disappointed, he wasn't. He was ecstatic that he was able to skate away, eat pizza, and have some gifts from his friends and family. I was paranoid that he wasn't going to like the gift that we gave him. For a few years now, I've wanted to give him the gift of music. Unsure of when the right time would be, this year just spoke to me as the year to do it. Don helped me pick out a suitable radio/cd player/ipod deck system. Compact, excellent sound quality, and affordable. We were lucky that it was on sale too! Mari gave him Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory, and Guapo gave him Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams cd to start his collection. The best part of this gift is there is room to grow. He can always add CDs and/or an iPod (with digital music). I was very happy that when he got home, he immediately cleared a space in his room for his new music maker and started listening to Jack while putting together his new Lego Star Wars. (Still a kid, but almost a teenager, such a tender time.)
And while there, I strapped on the ol' roller skates and had a whirl. Not to be outdone by Mommy, Mari wanted to try it out. That little girl, as always, is fearless. When we took this photo, she was wanting to go on her own. You can see her trying to pull away from Don's hand.
Happy 12th Birthday Pops!