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  • I ran around town all last week with an extra child.
    He is tall, he is broad, he has teen habits.
    He has a loping gait and the odd pimple and the genetics of my family and a smile that melts me.
    Instead of three children I have been dealing with four.
    And it is fine.
    He drinks iced tea by the gallon and that is fine.

    This nephew of mine, he is his fathers son.
    That brother of mine, that brother that is gone.
    This nephew of mine that I love like a son.
    The familial threads that are so strong.

    My brother died. And he left his son to me. And I am sad. But I am glad because the gift that is this extra child is such an unexpected treat that gives me such a strong sense of deep bone contentment I suspect it was destined. He eats me out of house and home and consumes more iced tea than is natural, but that's OK.

    My nephew and I are close. There is an unbreachable closeness and trust. There is a fondness that goes beyond words.

    We drove back to the airport today. To deposit him back on a plane, back to his mother. (I shall miss him intensely. The grocery bill and the ice tea consumption will diminish, but I shall miss him.)

    There is something about talking in cars whilst driving. Two sets of eyes faced forward, focused on the road ahead. No eye contact between a boy and his aunt means that hard questions regarding suicide, mental health and grief may be asked and answered. He asks, I tell. I ask, he asks more. I share, he absorbs. He contradicts and I explain. We laugh. I nearly cry but manage to drive and breath through it. He slugs back some more iced tea.

    We hold each other in a huge bear hug at the departure gate, until the next time.

    Until the next time I run around town with this extra child, this teen, that makes me so happy.
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