I've found the fall to be the season for old friends to resurface. Be it the impending holiday season, the quiet that ensues after summer chaos has calmed or something in the air, I've heard in the past few weeks from many old friends. And a very popular question...even from people who've never met him...is "How is Joey?"
Joey, or Joe as he now goes by, is my first nephew and my brother Don's oldest son. Joe was born when I was only 10 years old and in 5th grade, and so many of my old friends from high school have distinctive memories of how cool it was that at such a young age, I was an aunt. As it ages us, they are all often taken back to hear that he's nearly 18, driving, a senior in high school, and significantly taller than me. They might remember the pictures of him covering my locker-- this adorable, blue eyed, dimpled little boy. When I think of Joe I can see that little boy, but more often I think of him as the amazing young man he's become.
Maybe it's attributed to the fact that he's the oldest in his immediate and extended families, but Joe has always seemed more mature than his age. He carries himself with confidence and self assurance, is a hard worker and talented athlete. One of my favorite qualities of Joe is his natural grace...you can see that in his interactions with his numerous little cousins, his politeness, his constant willingness to be of use, to offer help. He also has a knack for finding hysterical youtube videos, and it is he first introduced me to this gem.
Joe and I are only 10 years apart. As time goes on I know the age gap will lessen...in many ways, it already has. He is and always will be my nephew, but I truly do see him as a young man, one whom I know I can always depend on, and one who I am so very thankful for.