I just returned from dropping my chicas at the airport. Yes, we had the predictable post-Christmas weather to deal with - Ella Numera Dos was delayed again and again by snow then sleet then freezing rain in DC, and US Airways couldn't find Ella Numera Una's plane for a good long while. But crowds were light and, last I heard, both of my little ones were winging their respective ways toward home.
"Home," however, is a relative term. I consider my home to be their home. And, of course, they have a different perspective.
This is the first year that La Famila Scribe is not within at least long-distance spitting distance of one another. When Una went off to college, we still had Dos at home. Three years later, when Dos joined her big sis at the same university, we just viewed the campus as an extension of our empty nest.
But then life intervened.
Una graduated. After plowing through law school, when she was still a 90-minute drive from her younger sister, The Eldest moved to North Carolina. The Youngest graduated last June and put down roots in Wisconsin. Our little family feels like it's been flung far and wide. And I thought for a while that it was my responsibility to figure out how to pick up the pieces.
Turns out, though, there really haven't been any pieces to pick up. Distance has brought us closer - if not physically, then emotionally. Dos touches base from time to time with a work question, or just to see how things are going in Room 215. Una calls every so often to report on her cat's health and the details of her (now) long-distance relationship with The Boy.
The fact is that I feel a tighter bond with my girls now than I have since when they depended upon me a lot more 10 or 15 years ago. We're talking over the miles, and at the same time making that distance grow shorter.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I say it strengthens ties that were there to begin with. Yes, I felt a little bit of a hole in my heart after dropping the kids off this morning. But we all know that, even though they've picked up, they haven't really moved on. We're just in different places now.