Friday, July 24, 2015
My younger nephew Boone came to visit for a week. Boone Week requires some commitment and finagling because Boone lives about an eight-hour-drive from me; even if I can get someone to meet me halfway on both the front and back end, I'm going to spend about sixteen hours in the car.
It's totally worth it, of course, or I wouldn't do it, and praise be: the other drivers must think so, also, else they wouldn't do it, either.
It's worth it because, over the last few years, I've gone from loving Boone because he's my nephew to loving Boone because he's Boone. I don't know how it is for you, but my parents were born into big families, so I have a ton of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I love them all because they're related to me, but I wouldn't say I love most of them for them; I don't really know them well. I want to know my nieces and nephews. I want them to know me.
It takes time to know a person. I'm thankful for my time with Boone because he's a really good person to know. It's funny how little things, sometimes, steal your heart completely. One of my favorite things about Boone is that if I cry out or startle, he asks: "Are you okay?" with the kindest tone. Maybe that's standard practice in your family, but it's not in mine, where concern is generally expressed with annoyance. The way Boone responded when I gasped, last week, because a bat (I think it was a bat!) flew into the windshield--and when I cried out because I tripped in the darkness of my driveway--helped me realize how good it feels when concern is expressed with love.
The more time I spend with someone, the more apt I am to learn from and about him or her, and I'm sure that's true of everyone. I wonder what Boone has learned from and about me, these last few summers. A week in my house might always be long enough to realize how messy and impatient I am. But I hope Boone sees me, too, as a person who loves him in the way of putting her money where her mouth is. I hope he'll remember me as a person who wanted to know him.