Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Passing Moment Of Cake

The main reason for going Downtown for a brunch this weekend was to celebrate Nighean Bhan's 21st birthday.  Perhaps somewhat strangely, she wanted to go to dinner with her friends rather than spend it with her family. 

I know.  Shocking.

After brunch, when we had driven home and gotten out the cake - which she made but to fair, she likes to bake - and opened gifts and were eating away, she randomly made the comment that this was likely the last birthday we would all spend together for a very long time.

There was a start in the room, and then we started doing math.  

Nighean Gheal leaves for The Big City and adult job responsibilities this weekend and, barring a cataclysmic event or just bad job luck, will likely not be back except for visits.  Nighean Bhan  has about 1.5 years of graduate school after graduating this December, and it is unknown where she will be next year in school, let alone after that.  And Nighean Dhonn will head off to college next August.

Have we not spent all the girls' birthdays together?  Of course - Nighean Gheal was gone for two years away to college before The Plague and so the last two years have been a sort of bonus round.  But indeed, the chances that something like this just "happens" again is almost nil.  Any future such events will have to be carefully planned.

They all laughed about it, talked to about flying out (or taking the train) to see each other, then carried on with birthday plans for the evening.  I, on the other hand, just ate my cake and thought.

Here it was - another one of those moments that almost always creeps past us because it has become so expected, so ordinary, that we take it for granted.  And then suddenly - usually after the fact - we realize that the moment was really the last moment, the last time that thing would happen.  There may be other things like it, but they will never rise to the level of being an ordinary event, something that just organically happens. They become extraordinary events, things that do not happen except with careful scripting and planning.

The cake was finished fairly quickly of course, and we were already on to presents and talking about where she was going to dinner.  One can only stand around awkwardly with an empty cake plate in one's hand, so after a suitable interval I excused myself to get ready for the rabbit shelter.  My presence was ancillary at best to the moment, not a requirement at that point.

Sometimes this moments simply get away from us.  I am grateful that I was given the eyes to see it for what it truly was:  the end of an era.

16 comments:

  1. Well said, TB. It brought to mind moving my own daughter into the dorm her freshman year. She cried more than I did! The image of her standing in the window, watching us drive away is forever etched in my memory. It was a bittersweet moment. Her times home weren't quite the same after that, because by then, she was mentally an adult on her own.

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    1. Leigh, when my sister went away to college, my mother prevented her from talking to my father on the phone because she knew if my sister talked to my father, he would let her comes home and she should not have.

      In fairness, this was effectively the bonus round for our oldest being at home - she just as easily could have started work last year. I think we were fortunate to have it - and in some ways, that I was aware enough to realize it.

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  2. Anonymous2:55 AM

    Opportunities to observe these events as they happen are often missed. There is always going to be a last of what used to be common. The family nest becomes smaller, than swells when Grandchildren appear. New traditions - new faces joined. All you can do is smile and wonder what the world will bring.

    This past summer, one of my coworkers sons was home from college working for our office. I'm not sure he understood the opportunity to study 'Work Dad' vs. 'Family Dad'. We often wonder who are parents are outside the family and working with them has valuable insights of who they are, instead of just who they say they are.

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    1. Fair - it is not all bad; from ruin comes renewal.

      That is an interesting observation about your coworker's son working there. I wonder if any of us in youth understood the many opportunities we were offered - and often missed. At least for me, I was likely too self absorbed at the time.

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  3. Usually we don't know when something is "the last" until much later. It's probably good that time travel isn't possible...

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    1. Sbrgirl - I almost never used to know it; I am grateful that I am slightly more aware of it now that I used to be.

      The chaos of going back to visit the "last times" would undoubtedly destroy the time stream...

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  4. Nylon125:50 AM

    A bit of luck perhaps to recognize one of Life's Moments as it was happening regardless of who it was. The nest empties out and scatter. Another Act in Life completed.

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    1. It is luck Nylon12 - and maybe trying to be a little more aware of such things as they happen. That is certainly something that has become real over the last few years.

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  5. There's a lot of last times in our lives, and when I feel cheerful I realize that there is also a lot of first times, but we have the chance to make more first times.

    What flavor/type of cake!

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    1. That is true, John, although the last times are always known quantities and the new first times, unknown.

      It was a chocolate cake with a fruit layer and butter cream frosting. It was very good indeed.

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  6. Happy Birthday to her and God bless you all.

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    1. Thank you Linda. She had a very nice birthday.

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  7. Old traditions fade out as new ones are born. Thinking back of my youth, when the birthday celebrations as a whole family unit fades, we still celebrated but just not always on the actual day of my birth and usually with my brother nowhere around. Then that sort of morphed into celebrating my children's birthdays as another whole unit though different than my youth. Eventually, it will be me making a big deal out of my grandkids birthday and so on.

    But I do have fond memories of those birthday parties of my youth when everyone was there.

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    1. I do too Ed. I think (just because my sister's and my birthdays are close) we were probably able to extend it for several years beyond what most people were, maybe even a little through college (if you use the week or so rule).

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  8. Oooh... I feel it. I'm glad you had a "bonus round" - even if the reason for it was unfortunate.

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    1. It was fortunate Becki. I suppose it also a testament to her family that she would elect to spend most of another year with them.

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