I've been so unexpectedly AWOL here lately that I neglected to tell you that Lauren got back from her mission a few weeks ago! We have been luxuriating and adjusting ever since. When I run into friends (knowing how I was counting down the days) they usually ask a variation of this: "how does it feel to have all three of your kids under your roof again?" It is divine. And celebrated. And bittersweet. And fleeting.
It's been spectacular. Not that there aren't tough parts to all this, especially readjusting to each other again and allowing for the growth and change that has taken place in each of us. At one point Lauren commented "I feel like a page that's been taken out of a book for a while and is trying to get stuffed back in place." I can totally relate to that feeling! But I've come to believe that families are connected differently than rigid, unforgiving book bindings: we are constantly evolving and accommodating change. After many years in one configuration (or at least a very gradually changing one), we are now a building constantly under renovation, not a static old book.
Truth is, we've all been adjusting to the new reality of these years, which is that our family structure has renovated and reshuffled and installed a virtual revolving door: lots of transitions in and out, varying lengths of stays, and they're off again. That turning, pirouetting door provides constant opportunities to go off to new adventures and equally many welcome invitations to come back in.
Tomorrow we head off on a long weekend trip together and then we begin another leaving season: first Lauren, off to spring term at university, then Maddy a few months later to her new university. I can almost feel the airy woosh of the revolving door slightly rustling my hair. They'll be back.