Thirteen

 

Miranda Holding Sam

Miranda Holding Sam

Thirteen years ago I snapped this photograph of Miranda holding her new cousin Sam. He was about six weeks old when she and I boarded a plane bound for Alaska to see the firstborn son of my sister Margaret and her husband Leon. 

Elizabeth & Sam - Trying To Make Him Laugh

Elizabeth & Sam - Trying To Make Him Laugh

Sam as it turns out, was the laughingest baby I’ve ever known and if you ask my sister she’ll tell you he only ever laughed with wild abandon with me. (Use your imagination here to picture the silly dances and sounds I had to make in order to encourage such giddiness) You should know I’m talking about giggling, squealing peals of real laughter not just the smiles and cooing you get with a lot of happy babies. Born in Alaska, we didn’t see a lot of each other face to face over the years, but my memories of the way he would laugh can still make me smile and it’s one of the stories everyone talks about when we remember Sam’s baby years.

Last December, I had a chance to spend a week in Alaska with Margaret and her husband Leon along with Sam and Nik. It was the first time I’d been around Sam since he was about 3 1/2. so the changes were huge. Sam, the laughingest baby I’ve ever known has a more mature sense of humor now.

He understands subtlety in a way that takes you by surprise, sometimes being a step or two ahead of you before you realize he understands irony in way that most thirteen year olds don’t get yet. 

There are a few other qualities I had a chance to see up close during my visit, such as Sam’s innate sense of direction. It turns out that Sam’s love of maps makes having him in your car a bit like having a personal GPS that tells you where to go and then reassures you that he knows what he’s taking about. I saw him do this more than a few times when we were in the car together last December and thought how handy that would be when he makes it over to Cornwall sometime for a visit. 

img_3227

dsc_0025

Like his younger brother Nik, Sam is quite the music man. Preferring a Gibson guitar over his brother’s Fender, he seems to like to rock a bit more gently to some less raucous rock and roll classics and it was great fun for me to be able to see him play live at a Christmas concert. 

He’s had a intense interest in Huskies and the Iditarod for as long as I can remember and got his dog Buddy, an Alaskan husky when he was about six. (Sorry …I don’t have a better picture of Buddy) The picture below though shows one of the funny things Buddy likes to do when he feels like he wants to join the rest of the action.

Buddy At The Gate

Buddy At The Gate

dsc_0079

Sam has a need for solitude and time to think that I totally get and conversations with him always leave me thinking about our discussions and marveling at the perspective and insight of such a young man. He digs deeply into areas that interest him and is more than willing to chat at length about certain subjects… sharing details you might not ever have considered. 

img_3673

I think what I enjoy most though is seeing Sam interact with his brother Nik. With almost the same two year age difference that his mother Margaret and I share, I’m sometimes reminded of how she and I were as similar and different as Sam and Nik are while still enjoying the connections that come with having a sibling so close in age.

 

Sam Holding A Lizard With Nik Looking On

Sam Holding A Lizard With Nik Looking On

Today Sam is thirteen and recognized as a teenager on his way to all the experiences and expectations that will come with the title of teen. New directions can be more challenging for some of us than others, but with his uncanny sense of direction, I feel sure he’ll have no problems finding the path most right for him.

Happy Birthday Sam 

img_4074

 

 

 

Eleven

 

11

Today my nephew Nik is eleven.

 There are many things I’d like to say about him, but at eleven, he’d like a bit of censoring.

 Say too much and I’ll embarrass him, say too little and I’m afraid I won’t properly convey how much I like the person

he’s growing into.

dsc_0004

 He’s interesting to talk with and teaches me something whenever we speak.

Like a typical eleven year old, he has a dog he loves.

dsc_0032_2_3

dsc_0056_2_3

She’s a sweet little beagle named Ingrid. 

Unlike a typical boy his age, he likes to makes movies rather than just watch them.

 Sometimes, Ingrid has a leading role.

Nik taught himself how to make movies using a small Nikon and a Mac. 

His movies vary.

Sometimes, they’re black and white with special effects like slow motion.

His sense of humor is easily apparent in the images and story line.

He made a movie for my birthday last year when he was ten.

He read here about an experience I had in England

and made this movie to mirror my story.

Home schooled in Alaska, I think he’s exceptional.

When I visited last December, I was able to see his skill with his electric guitar, a Fender.

It’s a great guitar for a young musician partial to Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, my personal favorite Bruce Springsteen, and okay…KISS. (not my favorite)

dsc_0040_2

He’s a builder and a doer, creative and kind with a scientific mind and an enthusiastic spirit.

Nik - First Place On Trans Fats Science Project

Nik - First Place On Trans Fats Science Project

Last week he won first place with his science fair project on Trans Fats. He’s been trans fat focused since last summer

when he talked his mom (my sister, Margaret) into buying him the book, Eat This, Not That. After the science

competition, he went book shopping again, for volume 3 of Eat This, Not That so my sister figures he’s not done yet.

 

Today he’s eleven.

Happy Birthday

Nik.

 

Nik's Art Project

Nik's Art Project