My nephew, Logan, is ten years old, and in his own words…he’s “AWESOME.”
I have four nieces and two nephews, each uniquely gifted. Veronica is an amazing actor and singer. Bryce is extremely tech-savvy. Aislynn is athletic. Kali is an incredible artist. Dayla is not quite three, so we are still learning what gift she possesses. For now it is the gift of a large, commanding personality and amazing style.
Logan was blessed with the gift of humor. Collectively as a family, we have been blessed with the gift of experiencing Logan’s humor. He is goofy and has the best facial expressions, one-liners, and quick-witted remarks. He can also be quite the charmer.
The other week, Logan was upset because Veronica and Kali were invited to see the new Spiderman movie with friends, and the invitation was not extended to Aislynn and him. He and Aislynn were beside themselves. My sister decided that perhaps a walk to my house would cheer them up and distract them from the tragedy of not getting to go to the movies with the teenagers.
I see Logan bouncing up my driveway and run out to greet him. The first thing he says is not “Hi, Aunt Loni!” Nor is it, “Hello!” Or, “Good evening!” Or any other common greetings.
He says: “Veronica and Kali decided to go to the movies instead of coming to see you. Not me and Aisy though, we CHOSE YOU, Loni. We chose to come see you instead of going to see a movie.”
Sure, I knew the real deal because my sister had called me half an hour prior from her backyard whispering, “ I think they are about to conspire against me over this stupid movie!”
But with his icy blue eyes and toothy grin, I couldn’t help but have my socks knocked off by Logan’s charm.
Recently, my little comedian charmed me in a different, humbling way.
It was a Friday night. My sister, Steph, had surgery for a herniated disc that day, and my mom had her three up at the hospital to visit her. Kali was at a slumber party. I had Logan and Dayla while my sis, Bri, and her hubby were out for dinner.
When my sis and bro-in-law first left for the evening, Dayla was finishing up dinner, and Logan was watching a cartoon. Eventually, Dayla migrated over, and the two were entranced by some obscure show. I figured I’d let them watch a few episodes because Bri is typically pretty strict with TV time, so I thought a Friday night novelty was called for.
Besides, I wasn’t feeling very “there.” As in, life has recently been throwing all sorts of unexpected craziness in my direction, and how could I possibly be actively engaged with my niece and nephew’s company when there was so much unproductive worrying I could be doing instead? So I sat on the couch beside them, and I stewed and daydreamed of worst possible scenarios. I was in the same room as them, on the same couch even, yet I was nowhere near them.
At some point, I mentally checked-in to think that we were nearing the threshold of enough TV viewing for one sitting and decided that after this episode, we’d come up with a new activity. Well, new for them. I’d still stew and worry.
Mid anxious thought, Logan loudly asks, “Hey Loni, do you want to DO something??”
“Sure, Bud,” I reply. “What would you like to DO?”
He opts for coloring a neat hardbound mythical monsters coloring book Steph gave him. He gets all set up at the kitchen table, excitedly coloring the next monster on the page after reading about its magical powers.
I get Dayla going with some colored pencils and her new sticker book. Then I take my seat and resume my worrying. I was in the same room as them, at the same table even, yet I was nowhere near them.
“Hey Loni….” Logan calls out to me while still coloring. “You could come sit beside me and color some of the monsters I haven’t started on yet,” he sweetly offers.
I sit by him. Anxiety floods me as I try and figure out what colors to use on this serpent snake whose mystical powers “aren’t that impressive” according to Logan. I settle on a navy and a gold. I’m coloring and fretting over how small some of the details are, and I pretty much deem the snake a failure when Logan exclaims, “Whoah, Loni! How did you learn to color so lightly like that? It looks awesome!”
Truth be told, his compliment made me feel better.
We move on to a new page. This one has a huge spider with a sugar skull design on its back. Logan decides we need to conquer this bad boy together. We decide to go with bright colors on the eyes, nose, and mouth of the sugar skull, as well as on the legs. We color the body black to make the colors pop.
As we work, we discuss which colors need to go where. We talk about how we wouldn’t want to run into this spider in the nighttime. We are coloring. We are talking. And I am not stewing. I am not worrying. We are sitting beside each other, DOING an activity together. Logan’s excitement grows as we complete the spider.
My sister calls to let me know she is on her way home and in the background Logan yells towards the phone, “We are having SO much fun!” Dayla mimics her brother, “SO much fun!”
When Bri walks in the door, Logan immediately takes her by the arm over to the table to admire the spider. “Didn’t Logan do an awesome job?” I ask.
“No, WE did an awesome job,” he corrects me.
Before I leave, Logan gives me the biggest hug and whispers to me that he had the best night with me. A few weeks later, he is still showing off the spider to his cousins.
Logan is my goofy, comedian nephew, yet that night he taught me a valuable lesson about life.
The time I spent at that table coloring with Logan, I felt alive. I was present. I showed up for that moment. You know what is really crazy?
My life quality did not diminish from abandoning my worries and concerns. If anything, it improved.
My stress levels did not increase because I neglected my worries and concerns. If anything, they fell.
Life is not meant to be spent inside one’s head. Life is meant to be lived. Living shouldn’t be overthought. To begin living, just DO something. Anything. Take action, and do. When you simply DO something and dedicate your entire focus to this action, the magic of living begins.