My sister and I are three years apart and between the two of us, we produced three little boys in a two year span from 1998 to 2000. The youngest of the boys, JT and S, are just eight weeks apart. For all of their lives, they’ve been close. They saw each other every year during the summers. In 2006, the year that JT and S were six and C was eight, I got my first digital camera and began to record the boys during our annual visits with one another. That year, we took the boys to Disneyland and California Adventure.
We made a visit to California earlier this month. Watching the boys together this summer was a little bittersweet. For one thing, the little boys have been replaced by some rather tall young men. JT is the smallest, but at 5’ 10”, he’s not exactly tiny.
For another, their lives are in that period of rapid change that is being a teenager. JT and S are headed to their Junior year in high school. In a few short weeks, my nephew C heads off to his first year of college. Back in 2007, such a development seemed so very far away. S and JT were constant companions that summer, taunting the big boy from the relative safety of a pool raft.
In 2008, C and S came east and we took the boys to a baseball game at Camden Yard in Baltimore.
The next year, we were back in California, the land of swimming pools.
In 2010, we visited Seattle before taking a family cruise to Alaska.
The next year found us in Yosemite National Park.
Somewhere along the way, little boys became adolescents and then teenagers.
I hope that the affection they’ve always shown one another will last a lifetime.
If it does, it will be among the best gifts we've given these boys.