It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. Thirteen years ago today, my nephew Ian was born. He arrived four weeks too early, way too tiny, and very frail, but seemingly overnight he's grown into a gangly teen.
Here he is with his cousin Megan, who is using him as a pillow while she naps.
Megan is three years old, and she thinks Ian is pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread. (She never has napped on me that way, and my lap is far cushier and more expansive than Ian's.)
Today, sadly, is also the third anniversary of my mom's death. Ian was the first grandchild in the family, and my mom and he were great friends. It's a particularly cruel coincidence that Ian's birthday will always be colored by memories of the awful day we lost Ann.
I've heard Ian say, with a certain wry turn of phrase, that he has a "funeral birthday," but he doesn't seem to dwell too much on that aspect of the day. He's a normal kid who is eager to open his presents and eat cake.
His brother Gavin, five years Ian's junior, did once remark "We used to get more presents when Nana was still here." That comment kind of took our breath away, but really Gavin was just making a practical observation. My mom did tend to spoil the boys, just as she had done with my sisters and me.
It's very sad to me that Gavin will have few memories of my mom as he grows up, because he was just four years old when she died. Little Megan was just only months old, so Nana will always be just a face in pictures for her. Megan often draws pictures for my mom, though, and she tells my sister that "when Nana is all better and comes back," that she'll give her all the accumulated drawings.
Too bad three year olds don't get to set more of the rules.