Sunday, December 21, 2008

They do grow up: friends at Christmas

The first time it happens for most of us is somewhere around our early twenties -- we bump into someone we used to babysit or a friend's much younger sibling, a cousin we remember as a toddler, and somehow they're standing tall enough to look us in the eye or even to tower above us. The gap which seemed insurmountable between high school and grade school or between grade school and preschool proves negligible and we accept as a peer someone who once occupied a separate universe.

Teachers experience this phenomenon often but never entirely adjust to it. My mother-in-law still gets stopped in the mall by middle-aged women who remind her that she taught them in kindergarten -- and then they introduce their new grandson and wish mom hadn't retired so that she could impart her values to another generation. Because we've moved a bit, I don't experience this as much as I might if we'd stayed in one place, but I do still run into former students, either from the years when I ran a piano/music studio or from university English classes. And, of course, there are all my children's friends from their younger days, so many of whom it's a delight now to recognize as adults.

Caitlin falls into both the latter groups -- she and my daughter, Megan, have been good friends since they were 11 or 12, and I also had the pleasure of teaching Caitlin in a 4th-year course a few years ago. She's house-sat for me once or twice when we've been away, she lets me do a wee bit of mentoring (she's in grad school right now), and I've been lucky enough to watch her take on the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy -- didn't slow her down at all -- in fact, it inspired her and her partner to spend a year in Taiwan teaching English while little Ava grew into the cuteness you see here. She and Meg haven't been able to see each other much the past couple of years, so Meg was tickled when Caitlin and Ava took the ferry from Victoria to help Meg throw a festive little soirée last Sunday to get family in the Christmas spirit.

Rhiannon and her new BF, Brian, were there -- we'd just met him the night before and were very pleased to see him again -- a welcome addition to our family gatherings.
Megan's checking out how a toddler fits on her hip -- have to admit it's a good look on her. . .

For now, though, we think she'd better stick with Henry --

Do you know what I mean about seeing someone whose adulthood or parenthood makes you realize yet again your own age and the surprising passage of time? It's a joy to know them as a peer of sorts, but still sometimes disconcerting, no?


  1. I think of it every-time I look at my own children and more often when I look at my friends children. Then the opposite happened to me the other day, I caught up with a friend who I hadn't seen in 15 years and she looked EXACTLY the same.

  2. I experience that with Pete's nieces. As you know I first met Becky as a six year old in Prince Rupert. She's now a mother of two delightful toddlers and a fabulous mom. I still don't feel that much older myself.

    Looks like you're enjoying some wonderful time with your family and friends.

  3. Ah tout ce beau monde Mater! Et en plus un paysage absolument féérique, vous ètes choyée ma chère. Joyeuses Fêtes!


    PS. Ne vous déconcertez pas Mater, vous ètes très là!

  4. Cybill: Ah, the Dorian Grays of the world -- who knows what the portrait she has tucked away in her attic looks like, mwaahaaahaa. . .
    Leona: I remember Becky at about three, Jas at maybe 6 or so. Your own boys I still see very clearly as toddlers, yet they're probably towering over me now.
    Orane: Vraiment, je suis choyée (un mot nouveau pour moi, merci à mon Robert Micro!)

  5. Oh yes! When my high school and college friends have older children, when my nephew graduated from college (who I was just old enough to babysit!).

  6. Have you had the experience, ma, of running into a friend's child and thinking it was she- because
    1. The resemblance is so strong
    2. They're wearing vintage clothes, and
    3. You are suddenly in a 25-year time warp?

    or phoning, and getting the "child" who now sounds exactly like your friend?

    Happens to me, and is weird and wonderful.

  7. jillian: so you know what I mean!
    Duchesse: I've never had this experience, but I can imagine it -- how strange and rich it must be. What I have done is see a child or teen and think s/he's someone I know, only to then realize that the youngster I think I recognize was that age 15 or 20 years ago, and this new person is someone else entirely.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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