Calvin turned fifteen this weekend. FIFTEEN! I have hardly any words, except, wow. He's a pretty cool kid that I'm so fully enjoying watch turn into a man. I wouldn't mind if it all slowed down a bit, but then I get just as excited about what is around the next corner for him too. And so I keep hanging on, soaking up our moments together when I can. I drove a small gaggle of his old buddies to the mountain for a day of skiing - all homeschoolers who are now off on their various high school adventures and see each other a lot less now than they did for the ten years prior. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Teenagers aren't scary. I love these kids, and it is an absolute delight to watch them growing, picking up their childhood silliness right where they left off, slipping into maturity and dipping their toes into adulthood. So much has changed - and yet not at all. After a day of playing hard on the mountain, they all fell asleep in the back of the van on the ride home. Sleeping, the energetic, gangly, deep-voiced men they are becoming slipped away and I saw them just as I remember after a day of play in the park years ago - tucked in and tuckered out in their car seats. Oh, time. Brownies and ice cream at home with the family woke him up for round two of the day. It was a good one.
I spent the next day in New Hampshire, getting ready for our Into the Woods Gathering, coming up next week. We cleaned, unpacked, and began to make space - both literal and figurative - for the adventure that is to come there. I'm noticing how very much February has changed for me in years past. It used to challenge me so, but I seem to have sorted out some ways of making that not so much the case anymore. Adventures planned, creative ventures pursued. And the ever-present and always growing list of places to go and things to do that the kids request and require. A growing and changing family, I suppose, will do just that. Each with more on their plates, exciting opportunities that just can't be refused, and the driver who is required for everything (but not forever! Driver's Ed starts this month, heaven help me!). But with the growth in desires also comes the growth in ability and possibility - no longer do we need to worry about the dreaded 3pm accidental "nap" in the car (and the corresponding midnight bedtime), and no longer am I the one remembering to pack hats for seven or reminding everyone to use the bathroom before we go anywhere! Growing up, they are. And with that shift, more space is made for different kinds of days. It's all so bittersweet. But mostly sweet.
These are the things I was thinking about last night, as I sat down for the first time in front of the fire at the end of another busy and full weekend. A tiny gin and tonic, and a just-dried, newly-dyed skein of my yarn in lap, not having enough energy left do anything with it other than sit, hold it, and think about what it might be come. Oh, these pauses amidst the busy days. The celebrations that mark each passing year. And the ritual and rhythm of family life - ever changing but always present and guiding us along. How grateful I am for those moments.