I was planning to climb into my bed with Love until ali arrived home — which consists of him logging in to skype and yahoo so we can speak and stare at each other across the waves of the internet — from Arabic class. But as I switched on my computer, skype notified me that my mom had signed up, so I immediately phoned her for free. Who did I find on the other end but my nephew Ethan. Mr. Five year old getting bigger and wiser every day. He was sure to inform me that today was Groundhog’s Day, an event that is easy to forget on the other side of the uncelebrating world. Then we got the web cams going and we were staring at each other with smiles that could have lit up the entire room, on both our ends. It was good to see him.
Ethan, my first nephew, born my first year away. Because of this he symbolises so much to me. I remember the letter I wrote him when he was first born, and the post cards that I send with each place I travel to add to the pile. He is one five year old who already knows more geography than most Americans! And he’s proud of it. I always look forward to the day when he can get on that plane and come visit his Aunt Kara.
Whenever I left, he was there at the airport waving goodbye from the hips of my mom, his dad or his mom. I’d struggle to hold back the tears as we waved our final goodbyes and I’d vanish around the corner in the security line, entering the “ticket holders only” side. It was the same when I arrived. Except then, I let the tears flow because they were of happiness. He’d be there traveling from one hip to mine with great big hugs and kisses. Every time I come back to visit he is there. Waiting for me and then letting me go.
It came to be that he thought Thailand was an airplane and I was living on it. He was barely three. Now, years later, he walks in shyly only to run up into my arms and we hold tight to each other and remember all the moments we wished we could have spent in a hug while miles apart. My time at my mom’s is shared between him and the rest of my family. We have an unbelieveable bond. I say unbelieveable because he has so much faith and love in me, and I am seldom physically there.
As my other nephews were born, there were more greetings, more tears, and more ways to stretch my time. Each nephew is so different, they all add up to the perfect pieces of love and family. I miss and love them all equally, but as Ethan continues to grow, so does our bond.
I was eager for ali to meet my nephews, as he had heard an infinite amount of anecdotes about their actions and words. He was eager to meet them as well but I don’t think he was quite prepared for the energy and attention they all require. He played baseball in the snow with Logan, he set up a boys club with all three of them, (they declared no girls allowed: my newphews’ idea although they allowed me to be an honorary boy from time to time to hang out with them…), he played monopoly with Ethan and I, we watched kids movies together, the list continues. It was exhausting in the best way, full of love and laughter. And I have several minute-made home videos to revisit when I get lonely and home-sick for my boys.
When Ethan first met ali he was a little afraid of his voice. I was crushed. The two closest boys in my life may not be able to build a just budding relationship? But after spending some time together, Ethan warmed up to ali and we realised it was just his accent that was foreign to him and after a few games of “cat” and “the sticker club” he was in. (Five-year old games consist mostly of imagination..not much else is needed.) It was a match made in playland. They went from the tough guys knocking knuckles to all out hugs at the end of the day. Good stuff.
Then there was Logan. He’s a three year old boy with the energy and electricity of three boys! He cracks me up and tires me out, and I miss him terribly when he’s not around, it’s just too quiet. He’s a real charmer and soon decided that I was “his” Kara. Well, ali wasn’t feeling too comfortable with that and the game was on. Sitting between the two of them, they took turns kissing my cheek. “My Kara!” “No, she’s my Kara.” My mom decided to stir things up a bit and claim me as hers as well. It was all in good fun and our bellies were rolling in laughter when they both tried to sit on my lap. I love those guys.
And Parker. He’s just a happy-go-lucky little guy. Content with attention and smiles. He loves everyone and absolutely loves life. He hasn’t even entered his terrible-two’s yet! Ali stood by and managed the camera as I helped him spread a double dose of frosting on the Christmas cookies we had made the night before. Later, the four of us — Ethan, Parker, ali and I — sat on the floor playing Candyland, Ethan’s gift from us. It was brilliant. Parker mostly wanted to play with the cards, while Ethan tried to keep the game together and our coloured gingerbread men moving pace around the candy track.
All in all, it was good fun. We were all able to store many hugs and moments of laughter for the times we miss each other across the miles and oceans. Because at the moment, that’s the boat that we are all in…
after I receive permission from Logan’s parents, I will add picture including him to this post, otherwise the special readers can “ooh” and “awe” over his cuteness on my flickr account…