Once upon a time, my now-16-year-old boy was just a wee, chubby toddler. During those wee, chubby toddler years he had a best friend -- another chubby little one in the person of his cousin, Andrea. She was a few years older than him, but that didn't make a difference in their friendship.
They truly were the best of friends. That isn't to say the friendship was trouble-free; like most BFF's at that age, they had their petty squabbles. But most of the time, they had a blast doing all sorts of things: from playing Playstation games to watching cartoons together to just hanging out and just talking.
But change, as it is known to do, entered the picture drastically some years later. Andrea and her family relocated to Australia several years ago. Earlier this year, they became Australian citizens. In the years since their move abroad, other changes occurred: Andrea learned to drive a car (and soon bought a car of her own), she developed a penchant for body piercings, and cultivated a taste for all things "gothic."
The friend she left behind (my son) underwent quite a few changes over the years too, since they've been apart. He grew A LOT taller (he's taller than my 5'8" frame now), his voice has become A LOT deeper, and he has experimented with piercings too -- though nothing beyond his ears. I feel sad that he and his cousin Andrea (now known as Andy) didn't go through all these changes together, especially since they were so close when they were younger.
The closeness has prevailed to a great extent, I'm glad to say. Thank heavens for modern VoIP technology; they chat in real time, share what's new, and just talk. Milestones are never forgotten; in fact, when my son graduated from high school, Andy and her older sister even sent him a graduation gift. He appreciated that a lot, but I could tell he wanted the presence of his cousins even more. Long-distance loving can strike a chord of dissatisfaction sometimes.
This post is a tribute to my beloved niece Andy. She leaves teenage-hood today, kicking and screaming in protest, but in vain. Relax, Andy. In just than ten years from now, you'll be saying bye-bye to your twenties. Bwahahahaaaa...
But no matter how many years go by, I believe you'll still be an angel, a gorgeous one that Josh -- your BFF -- and your other cousins, will always love and adore. Happy Birthday!!!