On Wednesday, my middle daughter left for Catholic camp. She departed a little after lunch, following our running around doing last-minute errands and enjoying a bite to eat together. We had just a bit of time at home before her friend’s mother came to retrieve her; just long enough for me to download some of the first photos she took with her first digital camera (see peonies above).
And then it was time, and there I was in the driveway, waving goodbye to one of my lovely things.
As I stood waving, I suddenly shifted from what I was feeling — the sudden void — to what she may have been feeling — the sudden sense of wonder over what was upcoming. It was a cool feeling, stepping aside from my own concerns and letting myself feel the excitement with her: Who would their counselor be, and what about the cabin mates? What would they eat for dinner? Was it going to be rainy or sunny at camp?
Then, I let my hand drop to my side, no longer able to see her, and just let go. I allowed myself to be okay with seeing her disappear.
It’s never the same when one child is gone. The dynamics change instantly. I felt a sense of relief that we’d gotten all her camp things in order. I could let go a bit — one less child to tend to for a few days.
The summer has been good to me, to us, so far. I do not feel the stress that I’ve felt in previous summers. It’s not tension-free, but I am feeling the lovely things in abundance.
Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. They don’t get the attention of the rose but I find them just as lovely, perhaps even more so, and nearly as deliciously pungent. They, too, are lovely things.
I was sad I hadn’t gotten out to take a picture of the peonies before they began to wilt from rain, but my daughter showed me that she’d taken some with her new birthday camera. I was so joyful to know the peonies would still be with us thanks to her tender heart and keen eye.
What a sweet gift to leave me with — the gift of a memory from our back yard that wasn’t mine but hers.
A lovely thing, indeed.
What lovely things have you encountered this week?