What recent trip, you're probably asking? Well, I managed to make time to go to Massachusetts to see my older daughter for her final riding competition of the year, and for her birthday. Unfortunately, we were busy enough that I didn't also make time to see many loved friends and relatives while I was there - but not unfortunately, she and I had a lovely long weekend together, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I also didn't take work with me; I can't tell you how long that's been. (So long, in fact, that I kept having to ask her: shouldn't I be doing something right now? You know, other than eating and sleeping and knitting and reading and visiting? Something like work? No, mom, she kept reassuring me - no.)
She is one of the (once-)little things in my life (you know what I mean - not a little thing in my life, but she was once tiny) that is clearly (!!) not so little any more (and again, !!).
Well, in spite/because of what we did with/to her, there she is, happily ensconced at college, halfway through the second semester of her sophomore year. Majoring in Biology (which still comes as a bit of a shock - she was my unstoppable lit/social science person; just goes to show you what an excellent teacher can do to inspire a student, and boy did she have an excellent bio teacher in high school). While she was in class, I grabbed the opportunity to take my new camera for a walk around campus.
(Yes, I did manage to restrain myself from poking the ice with a stick. But only because the trees had already done it for me.)
As I walked, I found myself near the greenhouse on campus, where I wandered into a fairy tale spring.
And then, as it started to snow, I wandered around campus. Yes, my daughter apparently attends Hogwarts.
I also got to see Tess compete with her team.
I'm still getting used to having a daughter who's living on her own, far away from home. Getting to spend this time with her, in her space, was a real gift. I mean, I know in my head that she has her own life, but there's something really lovely about getting to actually see her move confidently in a space that she has made her own, getting to meet and spend time with the fabulous, interesting, and funny women whom she's made her friends, seeing how she navigates a world that is entirely hers and never was mine. This is exactly what we raise our children to do - to go out and be themselves in the world. But it's not something that's easy to imagine before it actually happens. And really, it happens again and again at different stages in their lives. Each step that my girls take into themselves feels new and exciting, and, at the same time, exactly what I expected to have happen. I found myself deeply touched by how willing she is to open the door and let me in for a while, sharing her time and her place with me. Rick has business on the east coast at the end of the month, and will get to have his own visit with her (which makes me feel a bit less guilty about our snatched mother/daughter time).
And it wasn't all horses and ice. I was going to avoid WEBS, because honestly - I need more yarn like I need a hole in my head. But Tess had finished the project that she started while she was here for the holidays, and (my hand to god - it was her idea, not mine) wanted to go to get yarn for projects to knit in lecture.
Unfortunately, after all of that loveliness, I came home not only to a cold, but to two missing chickens. Because that left us with one lone chicken, and because there's nothing sadder in the world than a lonely chicken, three more small things came to join us last week.