I walked out to the mailbox today feeling kind of spritely. (I’m not even sure what spritely is but….I’m sure I felt that way!) It wasn’t catalog and magazine day for the mailman I guess because I only had a few letters. (Does your mail come in spurts? Our mailman must hold all the catalogs and magazines because every once and awhile I get a dozen at a time.) I noticed there was a letter from Shea, my cousin. I thought back to all of the letters we exchanged as we were growing up. Writing back and forth from Long Island to Annapolis spilling our secrets out in our letters and counting the days till our next adventure together. Shea’s in Germany now with her three kids and I miss her. She’s like a sister to me. We’ve both had a really rough time the last few years losing our Dads but we have so much history to support us. I miss watching the Love Boat with Shea. I miss tape recording Grandma throwing up after a big crab dinner with Shea. I miss strolling through Target with Shea and sitting looking at endless catalogs and magazines together. I miss doing everything, anything and absolutely nothing with Shea.
I was so happy to receive a letter from Germany today. I couldn’t wait to open it. But when I did my heart jumped. It was a picture of Alexis, Shea’s daughter, and it was announcing her graduation from high school. Little Alexis…I’ll never forget the day Shea called to tell me she was pregnant. I was at Notre Dame living on the third floor of Siegfried. It was a few weeks before Spring Break and little did I know I was about to meet Justin. I remember when Alexis was learning how to walk. I remember when Shea, Alexis and Uncle Ed came to pick me up on Spring Break in Key West. I was a silly college girl and all of my friends were googly eyed over the baby. I remember adorable Alexis at my wedding walking around the table to kiss her mom. I remember these things like they were yesterday.
But when I look at Alexis’ graduation announcement I can see that she has grown up. But I’m not sure how she has grown up when I still feel like that googly eyed, silly college girl. What has happened to me? If Alexis is that much older I have to be as well. Justin’s grandmother used to tell him that your mind doesn’t age just your body does. So when you look in the mirror it takes a second to realize that older person is you.
I’ve learned the hard way the last few years that life is short and that you do age faster than you anticipate. So I am posting Alexis’ picture in my office as a reminder that the announcements will go out before I know it for my own children. Her picture will remind me to be present and to savor every moment because things happen much faster than you think. And now I will watch Shea move into this next stage of her life with her three kids.
But I will still feel like that girl at Notre Dame living in 3A. And that girl really wonders why the years go by so quickly but why each and everyday it takes so long for it to get to 5:30……..