The other morning I was just about to get in the shower when my phone rang. My brother Ross, I could see, calling from New Hampshire.
"Hey Roscoe," I picked up.
"Hi Heather," a boy's pre-pubescent voice piped up.
"Allen!" [Ross's soon-to-be-14-year-old son]. What's up?"
"Welp I got a whole bunch of new fish! I have black moors, we have red caps...you should see 'em swimming around in there, they're so pretty!"
"I knew about the turtles, but you have an aquarium now?"
"Yup, 20-gallon tank, we have little plants, we have rocks. They love it in there. Look up black moor online, you'll see what I mean." I googled black moor and as I was oohing and aahing, he said, "I'll send you some pictures."
"That's the great thing about school. You're always really really excited when it gets out and then you're always really really excited to go back."
"Yeah....maybe next time you come back here, you can see my fish"...
We hung up, and I thought about how next year his voice will have changed. I thought about the crab shell collection and the junior search-and-rescue missions and the sno-cone business, and about how much sheer kick-ass joy this kid has brought into our lives. I thought about how there is really not one single call I would rather get in the world than a call from my 14-year-old nephew--than my nephew at any age--telling me about his fish.