I recently took a road trip across America visiting friends and family members along the way. I saw too many things and visited too many places to only write one blog entry about it, so I've decided to write down some of my favorite moments along the journey and share them here as I can. I'm pretty busy packing for my move to Japan, so it may take awhile to share them all, but I'll do my best.
Somewhere in South Carolina
'Can you say Jeff?' I ask the two-year-old standing in front of me, currently taking a brief pause from his task of running around the house. As his tiny little eyes stare up at mine, 'Juice' tumbles out of his mouth. 'Jeff?' I ask again. 'Juice' he confirms. Glad to have fulfilled my request, he smiles and wanders off again, his mother trying to catch him and prepare him for bed. I can't help but grin at his attempt to say my name and his earlier try at pronouncing my wife's name. In the mouth of a 2-year-old, 'Misty' sounds like 'Misha' and 'Jeff' becomes 'Juice'. 'Misha and The Juice,' I ponder, 'We sound like a morning radio talk show.'
Enjoying this game, I decide to give him one last challenge before he is pulled into the bedroom. 'Can you say Batman?' I ask hopefully. He pauses briefly, trying to form the name of one of the world's greatest heroes in his small mouth. 'JUICE!' he shouts triumphantly before scurrying off into the bedroom for the night. Juice? But that's my name, I ponder. Does he think that I'm the Dark Knight of Gotham? The room erupts with laughter as they realize the implications as well. Can he sense my deep love of comics and justice? Does he know what a great compliment that was to compare me to Batman, or was he was just really thirsty? I decide to take it as a compliment.
Over the last 2 years I've visited my wife's nephew three or four times and every visit he's developed a new talent like talking or walking or chewing. I will miss these little windows into his life and the life of his family. As the night grows longer, I think of the many chances I will have along this road trip to peer into the lives of our loved ones. I'm filled with eager anticipation for the talents and stories they will have to share as we stop for a few days and peek into their lives.