Today is the birthday of my beloved nephew, Jim Agutter, my sister Leslie’s son.
Jim is one of my favorite people in the world and, because I’ve known him since I was fifteen (when I was changing his diapers as a newborn), he is also one of my longstanding buddies. Luckily, he and my husband Ray struck up an instantaneous friendship the second they met when Jim was thirteen and Ray was twenty-three, which has added an extra dimension to what was already a close relationship between my nephew and me. Over the years, Jim, his wife, Karri, and their kids, Eli and Sophie have been a constant part of our lives and a bright spot for Ray, our kids, and me. Though Jim is not my son, he is very much my friend, and our relationship is close and special.
Jim and his family, along with his dear sister and her husband. all live in Salt Lake City. We have made the trek there many times and they have returned the favor by heading west to see us. I spent my undergraduate years at the University of Utah just so I could live near my sister Leslie and her kids. That gave me a chance to spend time with both Jim and his sister for a few years while they were growing up. It was also while living in SLC that I discovered the joys of backpacking, cross-country skiing, and trekking through the Wasatch Mountains. My love for the outdoors was cultivated during that time since Leslie was also a big outdoors person and this is also an intersecting point for Jim and Karri and Ray and me.
Jim is a professor of architecture at the University of Utah. He has received multiple awards over the years for teaching and also for innovations that he’s developed through his private design company. He is open, smart, fun, and full of life. He also has an exceptional sense of humor and can tease me with the best of them. Not to mention, he’s a world traveler and has crossed the US three times on his bicycle.
Happy birthday, dear nephew! I hope you are having a lovely celebration tonight with all of the Utah family. I know there will be good food, lots of laughter, and some very good cheer. I’ll look forward to the day when we can see each other again, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future. Until then, know you are solidly in my heart, now and forever. I couldn’t love you more if I tried.