Thursday, August 19, 2010
I noticed it about a minute before A said it. “You have a beautiful complexion.” The 18-year old blushed and almost involuntarily batted her lashes. “Really?” “Yes” A said. “Not a wrinkle. Just smooth and lovely.”
I remember being 16, and have my friend Gerilyn’s mom say that to me. She pointed out the 2 lines etching her forehead. She was right, I didn’t have those. I hadn’t noticed my virgin forehead before. I felt lucky, and felt secretly like I’d always be the young one, the lucky one, the one being watched and encouraged.
Last night I was excited to be with a set of young women who worked hard to get to this moment. Now, they are each headed off to begin the next phase of their lives: film school in LA, to art school in Chicago, UC Berkeley for philosophy studies, and one to Spain for her semester abroad. Each one was smart and beautiful in her own way.
Then the old photos came out – of young girls on a couch, covered in beanie babies. Back then, they were little and all giggles. They’ve known each other for years, and have shared laughs, kinship and a deep knowing of each other that arched over all these years -- a friendship throughout changes in schools, stuffed toys, boys, birthdays, tears, and all that comes with growing up.
Seeing the old photos made me realize I may never see those moments with children of my own. I may never witness this sacred and crazy passage of time, and have the opportunity to look back and say: “God, you looked so funny then! Do you remember…..”
When you don’t have children of your own, it’s less clear, this passing of the torch. You move forward with your life, and the march of the next generation is quiet and almost invisible to you. But here they are now, eager and thrilled and ready to explore and dream about being in charge of themselves and their world. They have moved from behind and are moving to the forefront. I see clearly that it’s their turn now.