I’m clearly feeling discombobulated today, because in my post title, I’ve tried to make an adjective modify an adverb. But I can’t help it—my little nephew Marc turned 21 years old today. It’s startling.
He was barely 4 when I met him. His mom, a single mom, married my brother. Marc was a little guy. On the morning of the wedding, Marc, who was 5 at the time, rode into town with me—just irresponsible, wayward, 24-year-old me, being trusted to transport such a little fellow!—to pick up the wedding cake. I safely placed the sheet cakes in the trunk of my car, but the cake topper? It was too small to sit by itself. It might tip over or get smushed. So, little Marc carefully, solemnly, almost reverently held it in his lap for the 5 mile ride home, where the reception would be after the wedding. Marc and I and the cake topper all made it back in one piece.
He’s always been an extraordinarily conscientious kid. On that wedding day 16 years ago, my parents, who were hosting the wedding reception at their home, had an elderly cat who was not well. The poor animal just wanted to sleep and be left alone. The young children attending the party wanted to PLAY with the cat. Marc, already wise at 5, stopped them. “He’s OLD,” he somberly informed his peers, “and he doesn’t feel good.” Somehow, his tone of voice and body language stopped those rascally little kids from wanting to play with the cat. They all left him alone throughout the rest of the day.
Marc visited his grandma, my mom, a few months ago while he was home for the weekend from college. He called and asked if he could do some errands for her and my dad. My dad was gone fishing, but Marc drove over anyway and fixed a few things around the house. Then his grandma thought he’d leave, but he sat at the kitchen table and talked with her for an hour before he went home. (I never talked for an hour with my grandma, so I find this really amazing.)
And suddenly, it’s 16 years later. Marc is a college man, a junior studying journalism. And he’s 21 years old today. Life goes so fast.