Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuition, Tea and Time

I licked the envelope, turned it over and put the stamp on it… a simple enough gesture. I picked up my pen to write the address and was surprised to find myself overcome with emotion. I teared up as I wrote Florida Prepaid Tuition on the envelope. In that moment I felt like I stepped out of the confines of time and watched as the next fifteen years flew by: as my sweet baby stood there among the students walking to the stage for her diploma, as she hugged me that last summer together and left for college. The whole thing lasted about 2 seconds and then I was back at the table with a checkbook before me. The writing of a simple check made the abstract became concrete.

I am reminded daily, by both behavior and words, that my baby is a baby no more. And yet (despite my out-of-time experience) she is not yet a young lady… though at times, I catch glimpses of who that person will be. For today, I get to relish the time between… the now.

Before I know it, she won’t be following me like a shadow. She won’t implore me to “Hold You!” She won’t be underfoot in the kitchen wanting to help. She won’t call from her bed for me to “Come snuggle.” The very thing I long for relief from right now, I will ache for then.

I need to remember that and try not to forget that this time is fleeting.
I need to try to live in the present.

It was with this mindset that I came to a lovely Teddy Bear Tea at Isabel’s school this afternoon. I felt my eyes fill with tears (yet again) when I arrived. The children were all dressed in fancy clothes and seated at tables covered in linen tablecloths. In front of them was all the china necessary for a lovely tea party. Napkins were in their laps and classical music played softly in the background. I watched Isabel pour herself a cup of raspberry tea and swirled in emotion. Sadness at the reality that my baby is truly gone, and wonder at the amazing little girl that has replaced her.

The party lasted about 30 minutes and ended with a dad reading Corduroy surrounded by children holding their own teddy bears. Simply beautiful.

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