The new year for Daniel means a new home — in Boston — a new school, and new friends. He told me in November, “When I come to your house at Christmas, I’m going to give you an extra big hug so you won’t miss me so much when I move to Boston.”
As we build a different kind of relationship in the months ahead, via Face Time and through letters (Daniel loves writing), there are many moments, especially from recent weeks, for me to cherish. Among them:
- Walking to school with him during a snowfall, Daniel chatting away about all the good things you can do in snow: make a snowman, make a snow angel… then energetically running ahead to the next intersection.
- Watching him interact with other kids at a favourite playground, kindly and competitively, always in the spirit of friendship. When he knows we’ll be leaving the park soon, he says to a new arrival, “Wanna be my friend for a bit?”
- Witnessing his interactions with Abeed Remtulla, who invited him to the CNIB to record a book, his careful attention to Abeed’s instructions, his enthusiasm for Bark, George! “I’m good at reading,” Daniel says proudly, and “I love recording.”
- Hearing Daniel, in a small group of students at his school’s winter concert, singing and playing “Leaving on a Jet Plane” on the ukulele less than two weeks before Christmas. Well, you can bet that just about did me in.
- Heading out to walk the dog with me and his aunt (my daughter) — in the dark so he can enjoy the lights — Daniel suggests, “Maybe we can do carolling!” Good friends respond warmly to “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”
Soon after hearing Daniel’s doing “Leaving on a Jet Plane” solo on Grampa’s ukulele, I got my “extra big hug.”
I wish Daniel and his parents all the best in their new home, and my son in his exciting new job. Already I’m looking forward to their first visit back here, during school break in February. I’ll have extra big hugs ready for all of them.