I first met my nephew, JC, when he was 10 months old. My sister—chief zookeeper of the multiple children, cats, rodents, rabbit and tolerant border collie—was living in Petawawa, Ont. when he was born, and I was on the West Coast. Although I had seen photos of him from birth to about six months, I fell completely in love with the tow-headed toddler with the big grin the first time we were introduced face to face.
Today, that little boy is graduating from high school in Nova Scotia. He is no longer a child, but a man (with blue hair at the moment).
I’m quite sure he will be embarrassed that I have written about him. But he is thousands of kilometres away and we are related, so he can’t get rid of me.
We haven’t had the same kind of relationship that I’ve had with his sisters; he’s reserved, like his late grandfather and doesn’t like talking on the phone as much. But I have loved watching him grow and mature. He has been quiet, yes, but also observant. Doesn’t speak his mind much, but when he does you want to listen. He doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but on his arm with his first tattoo.
On the eve of this momentous life event, I want him to know how proud I am of him. How smart I think he is. How brave. How handsome. How loving.
He’s been working nearly full time while finishing his Grade 12 year, and I am in awe of his effort. I wish I could have been there to see him accept his diploma, but being on opposite coasts, it wasn’t to be.
I hope he knows that in this next phase of his adulthood, I will be there for him; as proud as always.
Susan Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.