I am listening to the chatter of Parker and her buddies downstairs. They are commiserating about their middle schools and talking a mile a minute to make up for lost time. She wanted to celebrate this birthday as she has so many before – with her friends, eating, laughing, gabbing, watching movies and likely getting very little sleep.
All three of my kids have celebrated milestone birthdays this year. Grant turned 18 in March and is actually very excited to be able to exercise his right to vote in this historic election. Sam hit 21 in May which feels so huge. She can drink (legally), of course, but more than that she is on the verge of her adult life and all that that entails. She is equal parts excited and stressed about the whole prospect, I think. And today, my youngest, sweet Parker is 13. Another teen in the house. We did okay with the first two so I am hopeful.
They all had these milestone days without their dad. Which sucks.
He would have loved talking to Grant and getting worked up over a certain presidential candidate. He would have loved toasting 21 with his first child. And he would have celebrated the start of teen-dom with an enthusiasm that only he could bring.
And I would love to have had my partner there for all these occasions. Now, every celebration is given the reverence it is due, but there is also a tinge of the bittersweet. I wonder if that will always be true. I imagine it might be.
I realized as I was out walking the dogs on this beautiful fall day that it has been some time since I checked in here. We’ve been busy with school starting and all the activities that happen at this time of year. Dave has been on my mind a lot, likely because school beginnings will always make me think of him. And also because after all this time, what I miss the most is the day to day sharing.
We’d talk about how Grant has settled into college so nicely. How he likes his apartment and has made new friends. How he is going to classes and staying on top of his studies. When he hit a road bump in Biology, he figured out a game plan and bounced right back. All those years of hard work seem to be paying off. I guess the mix of my nagging and your unending support have given him skills to navigate this new phase in his life.
Boy would you be proud of Sam. You instilled in her a love and curiosity about science from such a young age. She has embraced it and taken off with it. She is doing so well in school with her studies, with her volunteering, with the sorority. She is applying for graduate schools and lab positions for next year. I know you would be as amazed as I am at her passion and drive.
And little Parker. Not so little any more. She has gotten taller than me and Sam. She has made the transition to middle school easily. She misses having her siblings around but we get to spend lots of time together which I love. She’s about to start her new wind ensemble which means that she has activities every night of the week now. But she is so organized. I never have to ask her about homework. And remember those emailed progress reports I dreaded so much? I don’t mind getting them anymore. She saw a picture this week of the two of you at the pumpkin patch and got a little sad. She misses you. We all do.
And me? I am doing okay. I can only imagine the talks we would have over this election season. I know your head would be spinning at the absurdity. You would have been stressed knowing that your whole family has found themselves in the paths of hurricanes this season. On both sides of this continent. But they are all okay.
Every time I look at Rufus I think about how much you would have loved him. He is your kind of dog through and through. Goofy, hyper, loving. Loves to play catch and fetch. We never could get the others to do those things well. Remember how the ball would just bounce off of Winnie’s nose?
I wish you were here so we could sit with our coffee and talk about things, but thank you for visiting me in my dreams.
Love you always.
PS Parker looks shorter here but presumably it is because she is hunching down so Grant can be seen in the background. He is protectively holding the 75 electronics in his pocket so his hands look a little suspect. Typical family photo. You would probably be peeking in from one of the sides getting in on the action.