A long time ago, I dreamed of three little girls, dressed like Madeline, swarming out of the house. There would have been three but there were two, and that was good, too. It seems like the promise of little girls is a promise that is forever but in reality the colorful plastic toys and endless readings of "Frog and Toad" pass quickly, so very quickly, and the next thing you know they're getting scholarships and going off to learn more than you could ever have imagined knowing. And so there are things that won't happen again, like little girls making snow forts, though I suspect the older one will always eat snow off her mittens, and there will always be hot chocolate to spill. There will be regrets within my control, and without my control. I could have taken them tobogganing more often, but I couldn't bring them up in the world of freedom of my childhood. They learned to swim and dance and play music, to question everything (everything!) and to be bold and strong. This is good.
But there are some things I miss. I miss helping them get the second mitten on and tucking hair inside their balaclava. I miss the dark winter nights of the last couple of years, when it was just me and one of the girls, having a punk meal of leftovers or freezer meat at the island in the kitchen just in time to leave for dance. I miss having time to bake cookies in the afternoon, and surprising Hannah with her favorite macaroni and cheese. (So when she came home a couple of weeks ago it was a joy to make waffles again.)
On the other hand, I come home to amazing hugs and piano playing. I get to watch Rebekah's mind expand with high school the way her sister's did, to watch her fill with passion and commitment. And she gets to teach me about Doctor Who. So it's not all over yet.