I'm not doing anything much special this weekend. I'll just be here, in Doha.
My first-born nephew, on the other hand, will be doing something quite special indeed. He's getting married. In Canada.
I could easily write a post about how it breaks my heart to not be there on his special day. But that goes without saying, and I have a lifetime to agonise over it, so why use up this teeny tiny blogging platform for yet another vent?
Instead I'm trying desperately to find the right words to express how much the oldest nephew means to the youngest aunt. But I'm struggling, because I can't quite put my finger on what it is, if anything, he might like or need to hear from me.
I keep on wondering what's going on inside that gorgeous 34-year-old head of his. I imagine he's excited, slightly nervous, perhaps even stressed. I know he's in love. I hope he's happier than he's ever been in his entire life.
I especially hope he's slightly unsure of what the future holds and what this all means for him as a man. Because as long as we're not certain of the answer, we keep on looking for the best possible one. Not knowing how good it can be - not knowing how good it will be - keeps us striving to make it the best we possibly can.
I hope above all hope that when he looks into his beautiful bride's eyes, it's not firm answers he sees there but endless possibilities and promise. I hope that she will see those very possibilities reflected right back.
And I hope that when he looks in the mirror, every day for the rest of his life, he realises what a difference he has made, what a difference he will always make. Because from the moment of his birth, he made a difference to so many people in so many ways. Not by 'trying', simply by 'being'.
I turned 10 years old on the morning of his birth. Yet on the eve of my 10th birthday, I remember crying and telling my parents that I never wanted 9 to end because it had been the best year of my life. My Dad assured 'dramatic Me' that no matter how good something is, there's always a possibility for something better. I went to bed still crying and doubting that very much (yes, I know, I was most definitely a drama queen).
And yet, when my parents woke me the next morning to tell me that I had a beautiful, healthy nephew, and that he'd been born on my 10th birthday, well I just knew that my Dad had been right after all. What a gift! Not just my nephew, but all the promise he brought with him. And the absolute firm belief he gave me that there IS always the possibility for something better, for something unbelievable, for something great.
I've not let go of that belief for 34 years now. It's kept me going through times when all I wanted to do was give up. It's kept me searching, convinced that no matter how bad or good something may be, I have to look forward to tomorrow.
That was my nephew's gift to me. I hope he can steal it back now and step into this next part of his life certain that there is limitless promise out there, just waiting for him to move forward.
I look at him today, and I still see the beautiful 2-year-old with the wild head of curly blond hair and the limitless stores of hugs and kisses. And yet he is now a man, with a whole new life as a husband before him. And I wonder when exactly he became that man.
Was it when he graduated? When he got his first job? When he repaid his first loan? When my then-5-year-old started looking up to him like a prince? When he travelled the world? When he held his dying Pépére's hand? When he asked for his bride's hand in marriage?
I tend to think it was that very moment he was born. That very first time he made a difference. And it just grew from there.
To my nephew and his new bride/my new niece, I wish for you health, happiness, joy, love, peace, prosperity, understanding, wisdom, courage, patience, gratitude, grace and so much more. I wish for you possibilities - endless, endless possibilities. I love you.