And, he's off! After I squeezed in that family photo - see his foot already halfway out the door? Calvin is fully settled now into Eastern France, though he'll spend much of his time in Switzerland, and travel to Italy as well. Yes, yes, we are all very jealous of his adventure! But so very glad for him. Just a few days in and he says he is understanding much....and speaking some. That will come, I'm sure of it.
As for the rest of us? Just after we dropped him at the airport, two kids needed to be delivered to theater, and dinner made for the rest, and well, the ship keeps moving forward, you know? And spring has arrived! Just barely, but she is here. The snow is all gone, and the ground is drying up. It's still a bit early for garden work, really, but yard work we are doing with a vengeance. And the clothes are drying once again on the clothesline, with ease (and not frozen fingers)! It's become a favorite moment of the day once again, hanging out the laundry. For inevitably, Annabel sees me hoisting that laundry basket up onto my hip, slipping my shoes on and heading out the back door while she's at the breakfast table. When I arrive at the clothesline and start pinning clothes, she has somehow managed to beat me there, knowing she has a captive audience to her story (whatever it may be in that moment) for at least a solid twenty minutes or more. Usually more, because her tales are always quite captivating and I find it terribly hard to leave. And there, hanging laundry in the spring sunshine, listening to her tales, I am reminded of so many moments just like that with her older brother who is now across the Atlantic. And the difference is that this time, the memory comes with a deeper understanding about just how fleeting it all really is. And so, I linger just a little bit longer once the clothes are hung, to hear her story - longer perhaps that I did a dozen years ago.
Oh the lessons they keep teaching us - in their presence and in their absence too! What a gift that is.