But today, I want to tell you about Bailey. I know I've talked about her before. We've known this girl since she was 13 and started babysitting the kids. We got to know her, then James and I became good friends with her mama, Amy, and then we roped her brother, Brent into the clan. Now, our two families are peas and carrots. We have supper once a week, go on vacations sometimes, and support and love one another, like ya do.
When Bailey was in high school, she used to walk over to my house after school, just to hang out and talk. We'd sit on my couch, and she'd tell me about her day, or she'd hang out and play with the kids. I helped her bake various treats for her first boyfriend, commiserated about fights with her buddies, heard all about the best teachers AND the worst ones. As she got to the end of her high school years, she'd tell me about the big decisions coming up - college, majors, career. I got to take a few of her senior pictures, and I even got to contribute a cake for her big graduation party. Bailey has an amazing mom who is always there for her. I know that, because her mama is also one of my very best friends. I've been lucky enough to be like an auntie, and my kids have been so very fortunate to have Bailey around as well. They just adore her, and the feeling is mutual.
Bailey is in college now, but we still see her. She goes to school in Portland, but maybe once a month, she comes and stays the night in our guest room. She gets to go see her buddies in town, and then we get a little time with the college girl. The kids are always delighted, and we are touched that she still invests that time in them. It's pretty special.
Time is precious and fleeting and so, so valuable, you know?
Thinking of Bailey and how just five minutes ago, she was thirteen made me think about my (not so) baby sisters. My brother and I are close in age, so we grew up together, but our sisters are much younger, so when we were in high school and college, our sisters were little girls. My brother and I both made a point of investing a lot of time in the girls in our own ways. I loved attending all the concerts and games and recitals and Sports Days, hosting sleepovers at my college house, stuff like that, but also just spending time with them. We spent HOURS playing cards and board games and watching tv and movies. We tromped all over my parents' gorgeous farm, me with a camera, them in thrown together costumes, coming up with "poses". I have never, ever regretted that time, because my sisters were and are fascinating, amazing people, and anyone would be lucky to know them. I've lived far away for a long time now, and I love where I live, but it's tough sometimes to have that physical distance. We have a bond forged by all that time that can't ever be broken though, and that is precious. THEY are precious.
We got to talking about it when we were all in Mexico over Christmas, and I was startled at how much of all that that they remember. As my kids' childhoods rocket past, and I try to grab onto some of those pesky, slippery moments, to nail them down and make them stay put (they never do), I wonder what THEY will remember. The good. The humiliating. The bring-a-tear-to-your-eye touching. The times I got mad and had to go pull weeds in the garden to cool down. The time the J-bird and I got his top tooth out in just two pulls. All the times Miss V got croup and had to be wrapped up in quilts on my lap on the front porch. Our beloved, far-flung family. Our beloved, near-by village. All the time. So much, but so little time. Life is weird, man. So weird, so full, so sweet, if I just open up my heart and let it be.