Friday, April 19, 2013

Reservations for Ten

Daughter #2 turned fifteen recently.  We had a special dinner; family and long-time friends in attendance.  As the old-guy for this portion of the tribe, I’m at the head of the table.  At the other end are the four girls, my own two and with each, a friend.  I still think of them as girls and I still think of them as mine.

It’s been a blessing, a privilege, and a responsibility to watch them grow this past decade and a half, but I need to stop kidding myself.  They live in that terrible land of not-child and not-adult, and are no more mine than when I belonged to no one, at that age.
At their end of the table they do not know life is hard.  Nor do I wish it to fall upon them suddenly.  My remaining tasks are to ease them forward and slow them down, because I know they are in such a hurry to arrive.
There was a moment of clarity – a quiet realization in the midst of the meal.  I think of those who have passed on and how not that long ago we would have had a table for twelve.  And how, next year, everything will again be changed.
Within months, the oldest friend will be away at college.  Then, next summer, my oldest will take her turn.  Then too, the young ones will be driving.  For them, this is old-time’s sake, though they don’t realize it yet.  They will be their own, and on their own very soon.
The years have rolled along rather quickly.  I have no reason to suspect things to slow down.

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