I can never getting enough of seeing the evolution of faces, my own, my loved ones, anyone's really. It fascinates me. Here are my three in 2002 and now. My son and daughter are 10 and 7 in the first picture, my niece is 13. In the second photo, taken a week ago, they are, from left to right, 18, 21, and 23.
My daughter turns 19 this week Thursday. I ordered Georgetown Cupcakes to be delivered to her on her birthday, a custom assortment. We were on the phone together and she chose the flavors. We also mailed a gift that arrived this weekend, but the mail room is closed, so even though she got the notice that it's there, she won't be able to collect it until Monday.
I feel sort of weak and cleansed, fresh from a long shower but exhausted by it, too. I am on the mend from a virus of some kind, but not mended quite yet. I am cosy at home with my husband who is watching March Madness college basketball after solving the day's problems at church this morning, dipping into his pocket to meet various needs, coming home with his wallet empty, his sense of purpose activated. That little community church is so full of need. As its warden, my husband is the center that holds, the one who has a rapport with all demographics, the educated liberal intellectuals, the homeless and at risk, the lost and found souls who gather there, all of them so needy in some way. My husband's need is to be useful, to help keep the ship afloat during this transition between priests. They are so lucky to have him. As we are.
I have a strange sense of peace this afternoon, but I miss my children, too. I am okay with their being away from me. The hard part is not knowing the shape of their days, what experiences are transforming them minute by minute, not being able to keep track as they become who they will be. It can't be helped. This is what it means to release them. Perhaps in my next life I will choose a culture in which everyone lives in close proximity on the same compound. Or at least on the same island.
My cousin Maureen said to my children last week: "When you grow up all together as we did, all the cousins, and you spend so much time together, you remain close for life, no matter how many months or years come between you. When you see each other, you pick right up where you left off. The way were raised, all of us together on a small island, it was wonderful." My children seemed to be really listening.