My, how fast they grow. If my scanner were working (&^%**@#!), I could show you pictures of when they were little, dressed up to go trick or treating as Jasmine and Dorothy, playing together on their Little Tikes castle, or torturing their Barbies (we have a twisted sense of Barbie play in our house--sort of the innate drive to play with fashion dolls meets feminist imagination).
For so long, Meredith has been in Olivia's shadow, but this weekend she came into her own, taking the stage to start off the middle school musical with a solo--a performance even Simon Cowell could...like (she hit all the right notes and sang with personality but was a little quiet) and proved she could do comedy, melodrama (something she practices daily) and hip-hop dancing. Then it was off to the cast party in a new outfit she chose herself and paid for with her babysitting money.
Nick and I found ourselves Saturday night with no one at home but us and the animals. Meredith was at the party and Olivia was at her boyfriend's. Both kids now have a social life independent of ours (except that we still drive them everywhere).
The next day, Olivia and I set off on our first college road trip--making a loop up to Vermont and then down to Amherst, and back home again. Eight hours together, and I was so impressed with her thought process as she evaluated each place we visited. (And impressed by how I was able to keep my mouth shut during most of that time.) It's hard to believe that in a year from now we'll be preparing for her graduation.
I loved--but was exhausted by--their baby and toddler years. Their grade school years were a blur of activity that was fun and chaotic. But I think I'm enjoying this time the most, watching them emerge as the people they truly are. Like any mother, I worry about them constantly, and there are days.... But I spend most of the time thinking--and telling them--I am so proud of them, and they bring us such joy.