Casey became an "always with us" part of our lives six years ago. Here he is at lunch in Arezzo in June, 2003. What a great trip it was as we spent 6 weeks in Spain and Italy. Unfortunately, things being as they are with kids, Ken and I have all the memories of a little boy's wonder and fun. He remembers very little. Sometimes I bring out the old picture albums or bring photos up on the screen so that he can dig deep. He does remember lovely Sofia whom he has seen almost every summer since.
A year later, 2004, he was slashing his way through the Amazon Rain Forests of Ecuador where he also shared the Amazon River with deadly piranhas. Of course, being Casey, he managed an Ecuadorean girlfriend while exploring the Galapagos islands.
Then came 2005 and Alaska. Another big adventure ..this time with bears, whales, salmon and eagles...flying and soaring in and out of mountain glaciers...seeing the big brown bear snagging his dinner from the cold waters. And...another girl.
Finally came August 2006--the year he became an Italian. The year he and Camilla began their unique bonding and friendship that started the only way it could--the language of balloons. By the end of that year, August 2007, the parting was painful and difficult.
These two children virtually lived together for that year. They knew each others secrets and ways. As they said, they were closer than brother and sister, girl friend and boy friend. It was and is a friendship that defies description.
All of this is prelude to why I write now. It seems that becoming a middle schooler has caused a metamorphosis. Casey is no longer the child he was. He is providing clues as to the teenager, young adult and man that he will become. He has entered the twilight zone currently known as the "tweener years."
And..it all seems to have come to noticeable fruition in the last two weeks. A stunning transformation is taking place--clearly out of my control--as much as want to say "halt"--stay a little boy a while longer.
Thy symptoms are: girls are calling--multiple times during the day; name brand clothes are suddenly known to exist--Target just doesn't cut it any longer; "skinny" jeans are "de rigueur;" walking around with earbuds leading to the MP3 player hidden in the pocket is cool and there is a great necessity (unfulfilled) for a personal cell phone, preferrably an IPhone. I am beginning to sense that soon we will be on the periphery of his life--called upon when needed but the focus being outside of us. I know this will be normal but I don't like it--at all.
For now, though, he still walks holding hands, seeks reassuring hugs, laughs with me and jumps into bed in the morning. He's tall enough that sometimes his arm finds my shoulder. And as I write this, he comes in asking for a "huggie" before going up to prepare for bed. Maybe the boy will always be there to come forth at unexpected moments.
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.