Clearly, the pictures above are of the same person. With just a few years in between the time that they were taken. What I'm not going to post (so that we may remain on speaking terms), is the picture of a time in-between. As most children do, my daughter went through a phase where she didn't look, or feel like herself. Where she only saw what was reflected back from the mirror, along with a hundred other imagined things.
The picture on the right was taken this past weekend, at her Senior prom. All the myriad details of dress shopping, getting her nails done, finding the perfect pair of shoes led to this one perfect moment, where her laugh is open, uncontained, and full of joy. Joy in knowing that not only did she look good, but felt good. Because she was with a group of people that she cares about. Because we had five of the girls come over to our house, and they did each others' hair and make-up while sharing stories and anticipation. Because although this was her last prom, and hence bittersweet, she had arrived at this point, intact and thriving.
The childhood laugh is in the moment, the one on the right was earned. Earned by being hurt, but moving on anyway. By realizing that you work hard to get what you want. That friends are extremely important, but your family is fundamental to your well-being. By losing loved ones, and honoring them by loving life.
My hope, as she is getting ready to graduate is this: that she can add another picture, taken thirty years from now, with laugh lines forming parentheses on either side of her face, eyes lined and crinkled at the corners with the same laugh, and a whole lot of living in-between.
Because the more things change, the more we want of the same.
If you follow our blog posts, and have read this one before you-say-farmer-we-say-market.html, you could possibly begin to understand the excitement, preparation and anticipation that went into our first day of the Midtown Farmer's Market.
After only three hours of sleep, and obsessively checking lists to make sure that we weren't leaving anything behind, we set off in our caravan of the minivan carrying Penny, followed by the SUV carrying all the baked goods and product for sale. We shall not speak of the minivan brakes overheating, necessitating an unscheduled stop, nor of the panic of getting there and getting set up on time. What I will tell you is that the day was glorious: a tad on the warm side, but perfect for market. From the variety of fresh vegetables and fruit to the hand-sewn aprons, and all the local honey, breads and various goods for sale, I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a tear over the sheer perfection of the day.
And we took in everything: the adorable, polite little twins whose eyes lit up when offered samples. The elderly beagle with the mournful eyes. The gregarious gentleman who announced himself a connoisseur, and bought two jars immediately upon sampling Rosalind, our raspberry-rose jam. The lovely family who just moved to Raleigh a month ago with their two little ones. The scruffy little dog who did a fine job keeping the area around our cart clean by vacuuming up every crumb. The older gentleman who said that the chocolate chess pie reminded him of his grandmother, long gone from this earth.
And then, the next week was even better. We got to see some faces from the previous week, and meet a whole lot of new folks. And we sold out! Every blueberry muffin with lemon glaze, every slice of pie, every lemon bar, and almost every jar of jam. All we had left were five oatmeal craisin cookies, which we were happy to share with our neighboring vendors. And in return, got the most tender, flavorful early spring lettuce from Nourishing Acres. Honey from the Pleasant Bee. A thumbs up of thanks from another vendor who was too busy enjoying the cookie to say anything. I'm going to get all Southern and say, "we LOVE this y'all"! And can't wait to come back every week.
You can come find us from 8:00 a.m. until noon every Saturday - we'll be the ones with the cookie samples and smiles.
Wife, mother, baker, jam maker, hug dispenser, reader.