When my nephews were little and cute, I can remember wondering if I'd still love them when they got to be big. What if they grew up and weren't any fun? What if they were mean? What if they were boring? I wasn't even going to venture into what if they became ax murderers, or worse. I was just worried about not liking them.
They are now 14, 11 and 9, teetering between childhood and adulthood. When I called their house last week, Eli, the 14-year-old, answered, and because they have caller ID, he launched immediately into, "Aunt Karen, there's an air show this weekend. Don't you want to go?"
Since Chris (my non-workaholic, he says, but constantly working husband) had to work, and my sister and her husband viewed this as an opportunity to ditch their offspring for a few hours, I took them on my own. The day was beautiful, sunny and warm, but not hot.
We rode a shuttle bus that arrived at the show just in time for us to see the F-22 Raptor through the bus windows. WOW! What a show that plane (that flies undetected by radar, so Eli tells me) put on. Stalls, flying straight up and straight down until I was sure it was going to crash into the crowd of people, then "walking" on its tail--its body vertical, but moving forward.
Next was an aerobatic bi-plane. The youngest nephew's favorite--he's into all things old right now. Lots of loops and spins and falls straight down, too.
Meanwhile, we also got to climb on and in a C-130, a C-5, and lots of smaller planes, including a "mosquito"--some World War II trainer--where the boys were allowed to sit in the cockpit, while a very nice, patient man told them all about how the controls work.
The grand finale: the Thunderbirds.
But what I loved the most was watching Eli be the leader. "Come one, Aunt Karen (because the younger boys followed wherever Eli led). We'll be able to see better over here." And watching the youngest one make his own fun. The noise of the planes and the sun shining in his eyes as he stared straight up got to be too much after awhile. So he sat in the grass and made a "whip" by tying together long, straight weeds. And the middle nephew was what he almost always is, interested in the planes, eager to see everything, and cracking funny jokes.
I've eased up a little on my worry that they'll grow up and I won't like them anymore.