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Stuffed animal days are long gone

By Staff
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Back when he was younger, my nephew Isaac liked to spend time with me. We would play, get in trouble and yell at the top of our lungs. I was the one who bought him a drum set and anything else I could find that would make noise. There was even the time I taught him to "run with reckless abandon" through the house, screaming that phrase at the top of his lungs.
We were partners in crime.
That was then.
This is now.
Isaac celebrated his sixth birthday last weekend with a party at a water park in Huntsville. Six years old doesn't seem that old. I would still consider him "little." He, however, does not.
I arrived at the party with his present wrapped up in bright yellow paper with a silver bow. I expected him to come running up to me, excited to see both the present and me.
Instead, I had to search for him in a throng of children.
Isaac was dressed in his long, surfer-like bathing suit and matching shirt and a shell necklace, similar to the ones I've seen on teenagers. He had his hair fixed like a big boy and was running around with his friends.
"Here, let me open my present," he said in a rush. He took the box, tore off the paper and looked inside.
"OK," he said, handing the box off to his mom. "Thanks."
"OK?" I said. "What? No squeals of excitement that I am the greatest aunt ever? No playing with the Pokemon keychain that I looked everywhere to find? And what about the computer games? On the box, it says they are made for big boys and you're a big boy, right?"
By that time, he was gone. He was a big boy all right – too big to hang around his dorky old aunt.
Isaac had his birthday at the same water park last year. Then, he wanted someone to go with him as he slid down the water slides. This year, all he wanted was his friends.
"He didn't even want me to go with him," my brother said.
I sat and watched him as he careen down the slippery slopes, watching his childhood fall away as quickly as he was going on that bright innertube.
Isaac is growing up.
"I'm about to leave," I yelled out to him. "Come give Aunt Le-Le a hug."
He looked over the shoulder at his friends.
"Bye. See you later," he said, not bothering to come to where I was to give me an actual hug.
As I turned and walked away, I spotted Isaac's baby brother, Collier. He's a tiny thing and the only thing poking out of the big beach towel was his wet head. I picked him up and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.
Collier is 3. And I intend to keep it that way.