Sarah, my eldest, is visiting this week. Her boyfriend, a very smart young man, researched and wrote a paper in cahoots with a senior advisor. The advisor is kindly letting this lowly undergrad present it at an academic conference being held at a local university. ("Cahoots?" I know, I know. The proper term escapes me at the moment.)
You may recall me obsessing about mentioning that Sarah is a Registered Massage Therapist. I am sooo happy to have her brand-new skillset in the family, and I guess the neighbours have gathered this from my constant gloating occasional mentions, because they'd started to drop heavy hints about availing themselves of her professional services.
I offer to set up appointments. Sarah and the neighbours are delighted. Sarah will get to make some money while on holiday, the neighbours will get their creaks and groans seen to. Certain neighbours who ran a half-marathon last week were particularly eager. Within 48 hours of my announcement, I've scheduled half a dozen appointments for her over the three days of her visit, as much as Sarah wants on what is supposed to be time off.
She arrives, portable massage table in hand. Not only are the neighbours getting their aches soothed, they're getting them soothed in the privacy of their own homes.
And as I watched her get ready for her appointments, gathering her medical info forms, her receipts, her linens and bottles, I get an emotional flashback. Watching her, I have an upwelling of feeling, that's new and yet strangely familiar. I realize that I am feeling that same rush of loving indulgence a parent feels watching their infant roll over, hearing those first words, watching their toddler put on their shoes for the first time... Look what my baby can DO!!!
It was the receipts that did me in. Inside my head, I was gushing, just like I did twenty years ago when I came across her four-year-old self singing her baby brother to sleep. "Oh, look at her! She has her very own receipts!! Isn't that just so cuuute?"
Except she's not a toddler. And I make the mental shift. My baby is a young woman. A young woman with a profession. A young woman making her own way in the world.
Look what my baby can DO!!!