By the time this article is printed I will have finished witnessing two young men on two very different journeys. There's not a drop of blood between us, but they have always felt like family and as the poets say, "I knew them when."
The first man had a screening of his senior thesis for his film degree and I needed some extra time to absorb what it meant to bear witness to his creative work before writing this piece. I saw one of his earliest films as a teenager and now the final one developed at college. All I could think, as he continues to create features that capture audiences and awards alike, is how he will always be the local boy I carpooled to Bar Mitzvah lessons while discussing Pixar films.
The second young man will have said his wedding vows and will be headed en route to his honeymoon by the time you read this. I have attended a fair amount of weddings, most of my peers, while wearing a bridesmaid dress with matching shoes.
Now, while trying not to feel too old, I am watching my peers' offspring taking the plunge, including this gentleman who has the distinction to be the first married among all the kids that grew up with my own.
For clarification, this group of youngsters, bound by religious school or choir, were of varied ages yet "played well with each other." Their cohesive friendships led to meeting a core set of parents with similar values and dreams. These moms and dads are my blended family — the people who supported each other through Halloween trick-or-treating, back-to-school breakfasts, high school graduations and mini golf.
That's why, when you watch your kids grow in increments every day, it's routine and rooted in your reality. But when you make it to the significant milestones: the yearly visit to relatives, Thanksgiving dinner, or a big-time birthday, that's when the growth and change from children to adult is so stark and evident. Watching these guys in their momentous occasions simply serves to remind me how my life (and yes, my family's lives) are forever touched by knowing them from boys to men.
A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.