Three-year-olds are wonderful--old enough to be engaged in conversation or activity, but not too old to exhibit "attitude." Unconditional love gets exuberantly exhibited through outward signs of affection. No self-consciousness here! They say what they mean and mean what they say.
I'm looking forward to the trip. I don't get to see any of my adult children very often and it's always special now when I do. Maybe that's the gift that comes with long-distance relationships. Time and distance do not allow for "taking for granted." Each moment seems blessed and far too brief.
This past weekend my son, Jeff, was in town to work the election. Because he lives in Washington, DC, we only see him 3 or maybe 4 times during the year. We vacationed in DC during the summer and got to see more of him--having dinner together most nights when he got off work. Times like that are always bonus times, now. It is always difficult to say good-bye after these visits because they are so few and far between.
Family events, like the birthday this weekend, bring on a sense of melancholy. While I enjoy them, I long for the days when the kids all lived close by. I think of Amy, so far away from us all in Okinawa. I know she will feel sad to miss this family celebration. It's been 6 months already since she's seen any of us. She's never met her nephew, born in July, and her nieces miss her terribly. We all do.
And yet, life goes on. We make our plans, we celebrate, we continue to move forward. Life brings change, both expected and not, and one learns to go with the flow, to bend so that one does not break.
Tomorrow will be a fun day, for Lea and for all of us. We will remember that Amy and Jeff are not there, but we still celebrate. I'm sure that they, too, will be celebrating in their own ways. Lea is turning three, an event worthy of celebration. Happy birthday, Lea. I hope you have a wonderful year!