On the edge of seventeen

He’s on his 3rd passport and has visited 5 countries, so far.

A little more than 17 years ago, I was expecting my second child. At the time I thought I was living a busy life with a husband, a 2 year-old, and a full-time career. Little did I know what the future would hold, right? As my due date approached I had three items to take care of before I would feel ready to birth this child of mine – there was grout to scrub from the new bathroom floor, a professional conference to attend and a religious ceremony in which I would be sponsoring a special young woman as she made her confirmation.

Midweek, I managed to wedge myself into a pew to attend the service and witness Alexondra receiving the sacrament. One box checked. On Thursday, a beautiful and sunny day, I made it to the Century House for my annual conference after which I went home, changed clothes, put a chicken in the oven to roast and got down on my knees to start scrubbing grout. At which point, naturally, my water broke. Griffin was born Friday afternoon.

Flash forward to Thursday, April 29th, 2016, seventeen years later, another beautiful spring afternoon. My now 6 foot tall son and I were in Lisbon after a few days spent in Barcelona. The trip had not been without adventure as we negotiated with mixed success around an unfamiliar foreign city and sampled a cuisine which was new to us. There was that missed flight and subsequent 20 hour bus ride, but I was more focused on the novelty of having him map out our route on the metro and his bold approach to the tapas menu, trying items I never would have imagined him tasting – grilled octopus and fried pig snout to name two.

As the planets aligned in a manner that could never have been predicted, we were joined by none other than Alexondra who had flown  from Rome to join us for the weekend. Along with her was a Spanish friend and the four of us went out for a typically late southern European dinner. There was sangria and my boy ate quail for the first time, an amusing to me echo of the days when he would only eat “big chicken,” as he called a roasted chicken.

This was one weird place – I recommend it!

On the way to our Lisbon digs, we stopped for a nightcap and to allow the clock to push past midnight marking Griffin’s 17th birthday. It was a bizarre little dive bar that invited us in with a soundtrack of terrific music and we sat with another pitcher of sangria and toasted this kid who has both challenged and delighted me every single day of his life. He’s now precisely half of Alexondra’s age.

I can’t wait to see where both of them are in 2033.

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