Tiny Things

I normally fill this screen with tripe about politics or culture, or some weird hybrid of the two, but tonight I want to talk about my little nephew, Justin. Well, he’s not so little anymore, but he started out real little.

He was born just a pound and a half. About the weight of a bound copy of Crime and Punishment.

That’s what happens when you’re in a hurry to come out of your mommy.

He was premature by four months. A wee little thing, smaller than a shoe.

He could fit in your hand.

Naturally, we worried he wasn’t going to make it, spent many a sleepless night thinking about tiny things: a tiny face mask, tiny fingers, tiny lungs….

A pound a half!

I was going to school in Boston at the time and couldn’t make it to Colorado to visit. My first meeting with my nephew was in an email attachement. I opened it and saw a picture that scared the daylights out of me. He looked so small and fragile. Breakable.

Now he’s eight years-old and playing baseball, soccer, learning karate, practices his chops and kicks on his younger brother, and has a heart the size of the Rocky Mountains. When I visit him on Christmas he rams into me and I almost get knocked over, walloping me with a giant hug. He may just be playing around, but when he punches me, it hurts!

The kid isn’t a peewee anymore.

My sister claims we look alike.

This is a few years ago.

My nephew and I.

He’s as rough and tumble as any eight year-old. My sister and her husband love to watch him run around and fall down and get hit in the face with a pillow. He’s lucky to have been born when he had, otherwise he never would have been born at all. Modern medicine and all. He was on a feeding tube for over three years.

Like I said, he has a big heart. He’s a sweet and loving boy. A warrior.

Justin’s now at a stage where he’s learning about his experience and talking about it. He will tell the story for the rest of his life to the people that come into it. “I was born weighing a pound and a half. My uncle said I looked like an alien.”

It’s a trip to watch a child’s personality form. I can only imagine what his parents must feel like, like some kind of sorcerers. Not only is he developing and maturing, and that right there is a blessing, but he’s becoming involved in charity works, and the idea of giving back.

His latest endeavor is in a charity raising funds for research involving premature children. Doing one of those walk-a-thon things. He’s only eight! Gives me hope that the future’s in good hands. My nephew.

I gave $20 bucks. The crazy uncle who lives out in California. The cheapskate.

As I turn in for the night, once again, I think about tiny things….

Tiny hearts. Beating.

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