My eldest visited for a couple of days this week. She lives in a city a 7-hour drive away, no small obstacle when, like us, you don't own a car. Sarah's boyfriend does, but it's roughly the same age as she is, and hasn't aged nearly as well. No one wants to be the one at the wheel when it gives its final breath, a hundred miles from anywhere.
But mama misses her daughter, and daughter, having worked through Christmas, wanted to have a Christmas with her family. So mama sent her train fare, daughter packed up her presents, and we settled in for a little family celebration.
It turned out that we were celebrating was not Christmas, but Sarah.
It was so nice to have her around! I love the dynamic between my kids. The younger two scramble to rearrange their social calendars so as to be home when she's here. When mom wants an accommodation, it's just soooo hard to arrange. Impossible, sometimes.
Sarah's coming home?
And you know what? It's lovely.
It's lovely to hear the laughter, the banter, the warm-hearted teasing. It's lovely to see them all -- my three kids in their adult-sized bodies -- cooking in the kitchen, lounging in the living room, playing cards in the dining room, and talking, talking, talking.
It's lovely to see how 23-year-old Sarah is an adult now.
"I'm hungry!" Rebekah (15) declares.
"There's some chicken stew in a pot on the stove," I offer. "Just nuke yourself a bowl."
"Macaroni and cheese! I'm going to make macaroni and cheese!"
"Yeah, why have yummy and nutritious home-made stew when you can have KD???"
That last sentence? That wasn't me. That was my GROWN-UP daughter. Heh.
She lives in a city far away, she pays her bills, she feeds and clothes herself, she holds down a job.
And what a job. Sarah is a Registered Massage Therapist. EVERY family should have one of those, I tell you. Particularly every family with a Mid-Century Mom, who just might have a few mid-century creaks and groans...
Over these two days, I learned that I am not injuring myself when I get that particular ache in my right shoulder while on the rowing machine, but should start each session with a hot pack and end it with a cold one. I learned a certain stretch to use to prevent that pain in my lower back that can make sleeping difficult some nights. And she pushed, pulled, kneaded and rolled my left foot, coaxing a muscle and a bone back to where they should be, so that I can descend the stairs first thing in the morning without limping.
(Yes, I'm falling apart. I know it. Which is why I am hugely grateful that we now have a skilled body mechanic in the family!)
She's on a train now, heading back home. I miss her company, but I think what I miss almost as much is the pleasure of watching my kids together. Rebekah, a sensible and mature 15-year-old, but still 15. Not so grown-up as she likes to think herself. Adam, at 19 a young quasi-adult, more adult than child, but still straddling the line between the two. And Sarah, 23, and a full-fledged adult.
I see a continuum of maturity in the three of them, and I like its trajectory.