My reaction isn’t quite what I had predicted. I’d looked forward to this day literally for years and then its much-anticipated arrival earlier this week brought about a fierce mixture of emotions which I am still reeling from. As expected, I was and am excited beyond belief, but with the excitement also came feelings of being old, nostalgia, sadness, and even mourning. Isn’t it funny how sometimes the very thing that you want to have happen more than anything in the world has a way of surprising you in both good and and not-so-good ways? Well, that has been my recent experience of it all.
This past Tuesday, my one and only nephew on my side of the family turned sweet sixteen. Everyone who lives here in Canada knows what that age means and that is that you can try out for a probationary driver’s license. Sure enough, he had booked his test for a very bright and early 9AM on his birthday. It would be a life-changing day for him if he passed. What I didn’t fully expect was the realization of how life-changing it would be for all of us which is ironically what I had initially hoped for. I wanted him to gain some freedom and independence so that he could potentially see more of me if he wanted to, BUT what 16 year-old wants to spend more time with an old, estranged aunt when he could be spending that time with his friends or girlfriend, maybe who are of ultra importance?! Certainly, I wouldn’t have rushed out to see my relatives and in fact, I didn’t at that age. Instead, it was my plethora of friends whom my world revolved around as is the case with him undoubtedly. Ouch! That reality stings—really stings since for some Godforsaken reason I never ONCE thought of that for all of those years leading up to the other day. Mistakenly, I was under the illusion that he would drive himself on over here and that I would get to see more of him. Now, I fear that visits will end up being even fewer and farer between and while I understand why, it’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow. Especially when I’m reminded of how much time has been lost with him and I in his young life.
By this point, you’ve likely concluded that my nephew passed his driving exam. I won’t deny that I silently wondered if he would make it or not given my own first failed attempt. I mean, none of us ever really knows what’s in store for us any day we step into our vehicles, right?! His testing day would be no different, but thankfully luck and skill were on his side. The fact that he’s been living on an acreage and driving all sorts of things from a young age certainly didn’t hurt his chances that’s for sure. Just the same, the night before his driving test, I swear that I felt just as nervous and excited as he must have felt. The morning of, I was a bit of a wreck. Every minute that passed by came closer to his 9 o’clock kick-off time, so to speak and the suspense of it was all-consuming. Soon after, I got word that, “It happened,” via my sister-in-law. Knowing that he was just awarded his license, I could only imagine how proud and over-the-moon he must have felt at the possibilities which lie ahead, number one priority being able to drive himself to school in his newly acquired truck. I can picture his exact smile this very minute as he would have pulled up to his high school for everyone to see his most recent and gratifying accomplishment, 3/4 ton included. What a supreme feeling of independence driving lends a teenager who’s longing to assert themselves into adulthood. I get it because I felt the EXACT same way back when…
The bottom line is that I am truly excited for him despite my selfish worries. His life has just opened up immensely and what’s more is that it is only the beginning of what’s to come. Sooner rather than later, there will be his 18th birthday, a graduation, post-secondary education or a job, the possibility of moving out on his own, a relationship… you name it. With that in mind, I’m trying to stay focused on all of the wonderful adventures that will surely come his way. I simply want for him to lead a happy, fulfilling life. If I have to continue to watch from the sidelines, then so be it. At least, there’s the thought of him which ALWAYS makes my heart smile. And, if I’m lucky, really lucky, he might just pull up next to me one day at a traffic light and wave, and I will be able to say that that handsome, smart, athletic, kind, young man is MY nephew whom I just happen to love to pieces. Meanwhile, I hope he enjoys the ride ahead and most importantly that he manages to stay safe! 💕