18 years ago, my husband and I got a new roommate. We worried that she would be hard to get along with, having heard stories about how small people could do horrible things like keep you awake all night and make you touch yucky stuff at alarming intervals.
To our surprise (although the stories were mostly true), Lindsay fit in pretty well at our house. Once we understood that we were no longer in charge of daily operations, that is. She was especially gifted at snuggling, and almost never spit strained peas in our hair. She also had a stunning ability to attract the attention of strangers, moving through the world much as though she were sitting atop a parade float. Smiling and waving were natural additions to her repertoire.
Lindsay outgrew us intellectually pretty early, so we sent her to school in order to be among her equals. That's when her super-powers really became apparent. She developed an uncanny ability to connect with other humans, enhanced by deep and effortless empathy. By then she had recruited a younger brother who completed the household staff, as well as keeping us all further entertained. Going forward, she started to teach us the value of a fearless curiosity, too. No subject was safe from her tireless exploration, from paleontology to figure skating. And of course, she wanted all her adventures to include her little brother.
By the time she turned ten, I realized that I could no longer remember what we used to do before we met her. All our days and nights had been taken over by her relentless love of books, climbing trees, and of course, skating on "my ice". That's when I finally noticed that one of her super-powers is controlling time: she can make it race by faster with each day.
And then one day last week this happened. It turns out that her two high schools (going to just one at a time was too slow for her) have run out of things to tell her, and she has picked out a college to attack next fall. It's far enough away that she'll have to keep us awake all night by means other than loud crying. Or laughing. Or reading with all the lights on.
As always with big transitions like this, I'm scared of the unknown. But Lindsay isn't. She's anticipating it with the same enthusiasm she showed on the first day of Montessori; blazing into adventure without a backward glance.
I recently found Lindsay and Campbell roughhousing on the same patch of grass in the front yard that they've been using for that since the day we moved here. One last precious summer stretches out before us, with promises of lazy iced tea afternoons, and late nights of stargazing on the front porch. And after this one, things will never be quite the same. My Smallies are no longer small, and that reality is enough to break my heart.
So until September, I'm going to reject the facts completely. I'm going to proceed with ironclad denial, and enjoy every single minute, until the leaves turn and the trunk is packed. I'll probably bury my sorrows in yarn then, and I'll rely on you, Gentle Readers, to hold my hand. And possibly the car keys, if I decide to go join Lindsay at college.