Friday, April 9, 2010

These Are The Moments (70/90)

I got to spend an hour with my family tonight, (minus my Mom whom I spoke with on the phone and my brother) and it was everything I needed. 

But, I almost didn't make it. This week, just as the several before it, has been hellacious. My schedule, or the stress of my schedule and deadlines, has allowed me little wiggle room, time to relax or even see my family. And that's one of the primary reasons I came here, almost two years ago. To be close enough to my family so as not miss the moments like those tonight that fill me up.

Today, (yesterday now) was my nephew's sixth birthday. 

Though he celebrated with friends on Saturday at Chuck-E-Cheese I hoped I’d be able to make it to Indy to spend the evening celebrating my little man with dinner and cake while also enjoying the company of my sister and niece.

But, I was tied up on campus until seven and considering the hour drive I thought sure I’d be too late to join the fun before the little man’s bed time.

I called my sister to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make it and see how the little man’s day was going.

“Wait ten minutes,” he said from the background as he played with his new toys.

“Get over here and talk to your Aunt Tiff,” my sister replied.

“Happy Birthday,” I said my voice bubbly and full of excitement when he answered the phone.

“I got a bike,” he said with just as much excitement, his raspy voice melting my heart.

"Did they sing to you at school," I asked. 

"Yeah, will you,"he asked back. 

And so of course, I did.

We continued chatting about his new bike and his day at school and then it happened, the crushing moment.

“So you’re having a good birthday, huh” I asked him.

“Yeah, but no one’s coming over,” he said slowly and clearly.

My heart sank, absolutely sank, and I was unable to find any words.

“I was going to come over but I’m still at school,” I told him before I realized that those words were both empty, unable to be understood, and full, communicating what can only be felt for a 6-year-old.

I’ve heard those words: “I was, but…” We have all heard those words, and I’m not sure that they’re any different at 6, 16, or 60. All I know is that I had just let him down. I knew it. I felt it. And it was insufferable.

“I’m going to come see you this weekend,” I told him. “I’ll bring you a gift then and maybe some cupcakes, you want cupcakes?”

“Chocolate chip cookies and Bakugans,” he said.

I agreed quickly to the terms of the deal and before I knew it he was telling me he had to get back to his bike.

“Ok, I love you,” I said.

“Love you, bye” he said back before he handed the phone back to his mom.

“Do you think it’s too late if I come now,” I asked her.

“No, she said laughing”

Ok I’m leaving now, I told her.

When I hung up with my sister I called my dad.

“Where are you, what are you doing now,” I said without any greeting.

We have to go to Indy now, I said before sharing the crushing moment.

I raced from Muncie to Anderson and then back to Indy again, not reaching the final destination until 9 p.m. where we stayed for only an hour. But it is only these moments that are of any real immediacy.

For me there is nothing more rich than this.

Or this.

And I’m not so naïve as to think that I won’t let him down again, only that it should be avoided at all costs.

These are the only moments where there is perfect clarity. Everything else is trivial at best. 


Anonymous said...

I missed Nicholas' 2nd birthday. If he could/would have said something like that, I would have skipped outta of conference & gotten the first flight back. I know Aunt love ;)


Tiffany Holbert said...

Aww! I almost died, I missed enough birthdays in Tampa.

Riana said...

You are truly a great aunt lil sis. These moments only happen once & you wil remember them. I plan to be a good aunt to your kids too. Heck, I shouldn't have any excuses cause may babies will be darn near grown : )

Akenia said...

Oh my gosh this made me break down in tears. He's so lucky to have such an amazing Aunt Tiff. The moment like those we subconsuiously bypass but I'm glad you got something in you that no one as many times as they've done it to you didn't keep you from making your nephews lil hopes and moments special ad treasurable.

Anonymous said...

Very nice Tif! Children are the best, they make life rich! And I'm sure having you as an aunt, makes his life rich!


Tiffany Holbert said...

@Riana: Thanks, your kids are pretty much the best ever! :)

@Akenia: I'm sure you know what I'm talking about now especially with precious little Maiya. There's nothing we wouldn't do.

@Mia: Thank you! They do make life rich, indeed :)

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