From junior high to college; from kindergarten to middle school. From bicycles to cars.
The time, it does fly. And things do change, in radical ways. Just look at that photograph...
For my own sense of motion and for anyone who longs to be reminded that the future unfolds and that joy does indeed come in the morning; here's where I was mid-February, just five (short) years ago:
I'm sitting at a cluttered dining room table (mine), surrounded by the debris of A Day. Fifty cupcakes, packed up and ready for the morning commute to the hands of friends as they honor St. Valentine with a rush of sugar, made carefully and lovingly by the Girls themselves. At this point, they only need me to drive to the store for ingredients; their independence in the kitchen is astonishing.
Back to the table....here is my own laptop, side by side with the ancient Dell with the missing '9' key. FirstSon entertained himself (and me) by belting out "No Woman, No Cry" as it surged from the headphones of the old Dell. "Mom - why don't we do this song at church?" Grin.
A copy of "Simon Burch", with the little fellow asking of the priest, 'Do you think God has a purpose for my life?'. The religious leader stumbles and fumbles and scorns the faith of a child, who believes that God will, indeed, use him as His instrument.
CD's - music choices that will serve to lead the people in my community in worship for the next four weeks. It's harrowing, at times, to make these decisions; as we gather in community, they sing what I suggest. I need to listen well as I work; it's no small responsibility.
Valentine cards - YoungSon has chosen a Disney motif to notify his dear friends and acquaintances of his affections. The box and the leftovers await the trash.
More stuff - fake yellow flowers of some type...a jar of banana peppers with nothing but yellow-tinged vinegar swilling inside...a piece of green felt with a triangle cut from one corner...a bread bag with one piece of whole wheat remaining...my keys....a crumpled, discarded cupcake paper...
The dog is asleep in my lap. The house is quiet.
Tomorrow is Valentines' Day. I have no man to squire me to an expensive dinner, shower me with chocolate and shiny jewelry. I have no role to play, no airs to put on, nothing to show that I fit in with the masses on this over-hyped day of demonstration. I will receive no $2.95 Hallmark card with "For My Beloved Wife" and a Victorian rose pasted on the cover. No special lingerie, no new momentos to mark the passing years of love....
I have a dirty dining room table, and I have my kids, who are not-so-furtively planning Something Special For Mom tomorrow; instructions have been given that I am not to return home until 5:00 at the earliest. Last year they had a hot bath with bubbles AND rose petals waiting - soft music, candlelight and gentle, solicitous behaviour. It was a blessing. I anticipate the same generous intentions tomorrow.
I have my kids. They are safe upstairs, sweetly dreaming or tending to the remains of the day. My five, who were once as cherubic as the little icon of love that floats around on February 14th. My cherubs have grown into young girls and boys who have laughed and cried through the best and worst life has thrown at them. They are authentic humans whose love is sometimes dirty, forgetful and even injurious. My children's selfishness is unparalleled, as is their capacity for forgiveness. The ability they possess to take up the servant's towel and love one another, or me, or a friend, or a newcomer, or a family member, or their far-off father...it is love. It is the best love, the truest love, the love that spreads through the very human aches and pains of community.
I have my kids. They are upstairs, asleep, and tomorrow they will get up and go to school with the same combination of chaos and responsibility that tore through the house this morning. They will welcome the day and embrace their future, and they'll love their mom and one another fiercely.
I have my kids.
Happy Valentine's Day.
"On a night like this/I could fall in love/I could fall in love with you."