October 25: So Brave

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We took our Sarah back to her university today. After two weeks at home, she said she felt listless and unproductive. She’s in her fourth year and eager to continue with her undergraduate studies.

Steve had hopes of stopping somewhere along the way, spending a night together in a mountain lodge or inn. But the glut of fall leaf-peepers and people attending various homecoming celebrations at the universities along the interstate prevented that from happening. So we got on the road early Sunday and drove along the Blue Ridge parkway for a while.

We didn’t say much of anything. Each of us was lost in thought, in contemplation. It was a bit cloudy, but the colors were still stunning…it was peaceful, beautiful.

We had lunch and then brought her to her townhouse, releasing her to the love and embrace of her two terrific roommates and other caring friends.

I have sometimes failed to see the people my children ARE. We live in a culture that generally emphasizes accomplishment (especially academic) and career. We were so focused on our son’s potential as an engineer that we didn’t fully notice how powerfully he impacted the world with his kindness, his goofy humor, his quirkiness, his openness and acceptance of others. Our daughter is just as smart as her more extroverted brother, and just as kind if not moreso – her heart breaks for the downtrodden, the marginalized. Her light tends to be a little more hidden; her well is very deep. She is the observer, full of insight, and careful with who she lets in.

At the memorial service, she had been incredibly brave and shared her heart: she told that enormous crowd the truth, that her brother was not her best friend. And she was careful to point out that he’s not a saint, but a human, like all the rest of us. And then she cried – oh, could our hearts break more? – as she admitted he was growing on her, that as they grew older and shared college in common, she wanted to spend more time with him and get to know him better…that she thought she had all the time in the world to do so.

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