Happy Birthday to My Nephew
Let me start this birthday letter with a little history lesson (you know I want to be Cool Auntie Melinda, but I am a teacher, so you might as well get used to this stuff - if you're good, I'll teach you how to make a paper-mache volcano when you're older).
I've known your parents for more than half of my life now. When you get older, I can tell stories about all of the silly and fun things that we did together during high school (sshhh, don't tell them though).
I met your mommy in August 1993, while standing in line to get school uniforms at Marymount College in Sudbury. Turned out that our own mothers had known each other when they attended Marymount, and and been friends who lost touch over the years. As they happily chattered away during their reunion, we looked at each other from behind them, knowing we would hear:
"We both have daughters going to the same high school! That's fantastic! Melinda / Kim, you should keep an eye out for each other - maybe you two can become friends!"
The thought going through my head at the time was that I had enough friends and didn't need my mother fixing me up with more. This had nothing to do with Kim at all - I just wanted to be the Cool Teenager that I thought I was.
As fate would have it, your mother and I did become very good friends that year. We were in music together, as well as a few other classes that year, ended up with the same circle of friends throughout all 5 years of high school, went to New York City, Philadelphia, and Montreal together on band trips, were part of the same student council, shared of a love of the TV show "Friends" and the "Lion King" (I'm sure you will know those well as you grow up), and extended our group to a bunch of boys from St. Charles High School...
Fate most definitely wasn't finished with all of us.
Our little group of girls (did I mention Marymount, or MMC, was an all-girls, Catholic high school?) had a few people who were in the Senior Concert Band, that traveled to Calgary in 1994 to participate in MusicFest Canada, this huge competition between high school bands from all over the country. While we were there, we met up with some guys from St. Charles (used to be the all-boy Catholic high school, but had just changed to co-ed) and spent time sightseeing, trying to get served alcoholic drinks at restaurants, riding around of their Light Rail Train system, and missing the end of an NHL playoff game (I'm still so sorry about that, Steve - still kicking myself).
When it was time to head back to Ontario, we had become friends.
I spent a lot of time hanging out with your daddy and his friends, and talking on the phone - one conversation even lasted 13 hours! Not sure how we did that and I've never come close to being on the phone for that long since then... The boys from SCC (St. Charles) and the girls from MMC became good friends, spending all of the rest of our high schools years as a group. When your daddy and mommy started being a couple, I spied on them through a hole in the wall (and somehow they didn't find that out until their wedding day!). On that day, none of us had any idea that they would fall in love, get married, and have a family someday.
You were born early.
I will always remember this because it was 10 days before my classes were scheduled to end at the University of Windsor. Just a couple more exams and I would be on my way to London to see your parents - hopefully in time for you to come into the world.
As you know (heck you were there), things did not exactly happen as planned on the day you came into the world.
I checked my email and sat in shock as I read your daddy's story about your birth. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about how scary that must have been for all of you... Nothing made me more miserable than not being able to get in the car and drive to London after all of that happened. It made me dislike Exam Time even more... I did finally meet you though - and for the first time in my life was speechless as I looked at you and thought about how all of the history between us had lead right to this point: Meeting the son of two of my oldest and dearest friends for the very first time. A little boy whom I would love like a nephew, even though we're not related by blood. You were so tiny and quiet, but you opened your eyes to see who was holding you and in that moment I knew that my friendship with your parents was always going to be different. Because you are now a part of it too...
Now you're turning 1 year old! You have this amazing little personality and your parents (and everybody) are completely in awe of you. I hope when you are the Cool Teenager that you try to remember how much they love you and always have.
I can't wait until I get back from England so I can see you again. By then you'll be talking and walking and won't really remember me. That's okay though - I've had half of a lifetime with your parents and hope I get at least that much time with you. We'll get to know each other all over again.
So happy 1st birthday Gordie!
Smash your fist into a birthday cake, chase your kitty around the living room, listen to fun music and play with tons of toys, babble with that adorable voice all day long, and keep on being the beautiful little boy that you are.
Lots of love,