This weekend we celebrated with family friends as the youngest of us kids graduated from high school… The baby isn’t a baby anymore. Nope, he’s now taller than me, plays in a band, and never walks around in a firefighter’s hat anymore, though my sister and I both swear he had one on his head for most of his childhood.
Graduations used to be our benchmark. There was one every other year, guaranteeing a good party to mark the passage of time for the last decade. Now we talk about engagements and weddings and when we’ll all bring babies into the mix. Obviously the transition has been gradual, but it still feels sudden. All of the childhood memories of summer nights by a fire now seem just out of reach.
I was given a quilt by a friend of my parents when I graduated from high school many moons ago. She chose fabrics with patterns that look like they could have made old childhood clothes, playful and fun. At the time it was given to me I thought it was an odd gift… she was not someone that I was particularly close to. I didn’t even know she made quilts. But after my Sophomore year of college, when my apartment building had a massive flood and we had to evacuate, it was the first thing I grabbed. And yesterday, as I was cuddled on my bed after everyone had left and the apartment was quiet, it was what I pulled over me.
In some ways I’m sad that we’re all grown up now, but mostly, I just feel blessed. It’s easy to forget all of the people and places that made us who we are, but as we sat around flipping through old photo albums this weekend, it was nice to remember. I think the older I get, the more I love that quilt, because I realize I am the product of a fabulous collection of memories. Some of the people in those memories I never see anymore, but they still shaped me, while they were around.
I know we could end up anywhere after this. We have no idea where we’re going to raise a family. We don’t even know where we’ll live when the summer ends. Mostly I just hope we find a place with as many fabulous people as where I grew up. I want my kids to have people to look back with like we did this weekend, to retell stories with, and to laugh with.
Monday morning is particularly bittersweet this week.