Out with Austin…

July 30 2005 013July 30 2005 016Dear Austin,

Even though you are only 8 years old, you are one of my favourite guys to hang out with.  We don’t do it often enough and I am sorry that I was always too busy working and stuff.  Grown ups forget sometimes that kids don’t stay young for long and we need to learn that putting stuff off for another time isn’t always the best thing to do. 

Now that my life in particular has been, let’s say “re-arranged”, I plan to take more time to enjoy your company.  You see, you are my only nephew.  You are also my God-son.  I want you to know that you have a special place in my heart.  You see, you are the one that called me Aunt Karrie for the first time.    I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if I could ever be a Mom, but I did know for sure that I could definitely be an Aunt, and when you came along 8 years ago, it was one of the happiest days of my life.  We both have those crazy freckles and we were both born in May.   I love you as if you were my own son.

I love the fact that I can learn from you.  You can teach me French words that I have forgotten over the years.   You reminded me the other day when you called me that summer is going by so fast.  You said ” You know Aunt Karrie that I only have so many days left of summer vacation, can you hang up your hammock and can I come to your house for a sleep-over?”  It made me stop and think of why you would ask me about the darn hammock.  I realized that it has been about 3 or 4  years ago that I hung the hammock up outside in the backyard.  I also realized that you must have a special memory of it.  I now remember that you loved it when I covered you up in a nice blanket and gave you a pillow and it was your special place to hang out.  I would swing you back and forth and you would pretend to hide in it and wrap yourself up tight like it was your own little cocoon.   I am honoured that you think of this as as special memory, when you consider you were only maybe 4 years old at the time.  Let me say “thank you”.   Also, I do recall that summer that I put a girly wig on you (from some old Halloween costume) and you wore my flip flops around.  You had no problem playing along but little did you know that I was secretly planning to take photos of you to embarass you when you are older.   Sorry about that, guess I can be a bad Aunt sometimes too, but we were having fun.  Maybe I was secretly trying to tease your Dad at the same time, you know, sisterly pay back from the good old days when your Dad and I were your age and fought all the time.

Well last Wednesday we were able to share some quality time with each other again.  I don’t know if you will remember our date in the years to come, so I am going to write about it today.

I asked you to choose something to do that would be special, something that maybe your parents get too busy to do with you or something that you didn’t necessarily want to share with your sister.  Something that just you and I could do.  You immediately came back with the response “Disney World”.   I chuckled inside because I know you are a smart boy, if you don’t ask you don’t get, right?  Let me work on this request because I would like to go too.  If only there was a Make A Wish Foundation for adults facing life threatening diseases, not just children, because adults have dreams too.  

Anyway, we agreed that we should go to the beach.  I knew that you didn’t go often and either do I, so it was an easy agreement.  You were quick to let me know that you didn’t have any beach toys so off to the dollar store we went.  Nine dollars later and we were good to go. We packed up our little cooler with snacks and grabbed some towels.  I had to also buy you a ball cap and sunglasses because you have very white skin buddy.  I didn’t want your parents to get upset with me if you arrived back home severely sunburned.  I however, soaked up enough sunrays for the both of us.  I call it blue sky therapy. 

I wasn’t able to swim in the water with you because I am still waiting on my incision to close up from my surgery 7 weeks ago.  I did however enjoy watching you totally enjoy yourself.  We stayed at the beach for a few hours, we walked up and down the coast, you were running from the sand to the water, back and forth because the sand was so hot, you were enjoying your pop and squirt gun.  Althougth there were many people at the beach, it felt like just the two of us.  We skipped rocks, but had to use the broken shells from the Zebra mussels that washed up on shore because we couldn’t find any stones.  I was so jealous when you pretended to be a seal lion and dance around in the water and make some crazy noises.  You didn’t care who was looking.  You made me want to be 8 years old again, a time in my life when I had no worries.  I may have drove us out to Rondeau Bay to the beach, but I wonder who was actually taking care of who.  You were quite entertaining and I didn’t think once about stuff like how much my abdomen hurt or wondered when chemo would start again, etc.   It is only now, two days since our beach date that I am thinking to myself… I really hope I can beat the odds and survive many more years… I want more time with you and everyone else that I love.  Screw cancer.

It was also fun sharing my new car with you.  Although you had to sit in a booster seat, you told me you felt like a grown up.  I had to prop a towel under your butt so that you could sit up high enough to see out the window.  You told me it was your first time ever riding in a convertible car.  The drive home from the beach was nice too.  We listened to a CD that your Aunt Cindy (my sister) made for me that has many of my favourite songs on it.  You and I turned up the music quite loud and sang along together, we enjoyed the warm air and breeze with the roof down, we were bopping our heads and just enjoying the tunes, and you were eating your chips at the same time.  Much to my surprise, you knew more words to the songs than I did.  What’s up with that?  Well, at least we both like the same music, considering I am 32 years older than you.  

Half way home we arrived in Blenheim where I grew up and where your Papa Roy (my Dad) lives.  We stopped in at Tim Horton’s and picked him up a coffee.  He was not expecting us, but sometimes I have to stop in at his house to force him to take a break from working in his shop.  A fresh hot coffee and company seems to do the trick. 

We headed home to Chatham and continued to listen to the music and sing along.  The song that I am still replaying in my head two days later goes like this… “I really could use a wish right now… wish right now”.

Thank you buddy, may you always know that I treasure each time I see you and that I feel so honoured every time you call me “Aunt Karrie”.      Je t’aime beaucoup!  xo