Lucy and I had a wonderful trip back to my hometown this weekend. I think 31 is the magical age where it is possible to return and not feel anxiety rise up from the past. I still feel a happy nostalgia for my 18 years growing up there, but it isn't tainted by regrets and embarrassments from the past. Although if I ever were to come face to face with the skater guy I professed my love for back in the 10th grade, I would probably hide behind the nearest tree for, oh, maybe 5 years.
My newest niece is unbelievably precious, I've loved her since the moment she was born in May but I fell more in love with her this weekend. She is an "old soul" baby, she seems to understand more than the average 5 month old. She is interested in everything that is offered to her but never reveals too much of what she is thinking. It takes effort to draw one of her smiles and giggles out of her but when you do it is so worth it.
I also met the new baby of one of my dearest friends and she is also a beautiful girl. She was contentedly snoozing most of the time we were together so I resisted the urge to swoop her up and kiss her toes, but it was a strong impulse, let me tell you. Jodie and I talked about how in the 20 years since we've met, our lives have gone in so many directions and yet here we were, two mommies sitting back in our hometown with our baby girls.
And I got to laugh and talk with my 3 year old niece who is as smart as the day is long. My number one favorite thing about her this trip was her refusal to use contracted words. If you ask if she would like to go upstairs she will tell you "No, I am not going upstairs", if you have the Wiggles CD set at a booming 24 volume level she will tell you for the 4th time that "No, I can not hear this music", and if you ask if she would share her ice water she will tell you "No, I will not be sharing my ice water". The best thing is that she is not disagreeable in any way, I never once have heard her whine, she is simply very clear about her intentions. I love her.
It was a great 48 hours in North Carolina, but it is also good to be home. I think Julia grew a foot since I left, she seems much, much bigger than she was Saturday. And Ace has been so nice to me since I got home, if I didn't know any better I would bet that he missed me.