My daughter’s sixteenth birthday is coming up in a week. She made a slideshow that included pictures from when she was still a toddler, all the way up til last week.

When I watched the video, the video, I found myself mourning for her days in pre-school.  She’d greet me by hurling her tiny body into mine, throwing her arms around my waist.

I’ve been missing her older brother, who recently moved out, to a town twenty minutes away. I’ve been remembering family dinners, trips to the park, games of tag your it, and Sam the Turtle.

Time passes. It is so easy for me to linger on what was, who we were, and wonder where the hell it all went.

Katy doesn’t give away hugs as easily. Colin the young man is not Colin the boy. Sam the Turtle disappeared in our yard. We won’t be wandering thru the streets of Provincetown on summer vacation next August, arguing over where to go to dinner, and when to visit the candy store.

My daughter is a graceful, intelligent, funny, stubborn, unforgiving, kind, young, woman.

Colin is a nineteen year old young man. He is not an athlete or a scholar. He is struggling, he is funny, he is fiercely independent. He texts me back. He goes to class most of the time. He wears the world on his shoulders, and he won’t lean on me, ever.

They are here. They are in my lives. They are different than before. I don’t know if I’m different. I don’t know if they feel like I’m different.

I don’t know if in their own minds, they’re still the same, just slightly larger, with different voices, different bodies, different phones, and different bedroom. I don’t know what they think about all of this, because I haven’t asked.

I can get to know them now, when they let me in. When they don’t, I can walk my dog. Look at photographs. Love my work, laugh with my friends, look at the moon. Text their phones.

It is hard, the passing of time. I miss the long ago, the homework, the driving, the laundry, the squabbling over every. little. thing.

In Katy’s slideshow, there were so many photos of her and her brother. I didn’t even know she liked him that much. I think she misses that boy as much as I do.

But he’s down the road, figuring it out, in his own time. And she’s still here, a sophomore in high school.

For now, I’m letting go of the times of two at home. Of negotiations. Of basketball in the driveway. Of babysitters. Of being the keeper of band aids, nail clippers, and the maker of lunches.

Now is as perfect, and amazing, and fragile, as it’s always been. We’re in each other’s lives, changed, needy, lost, and loving.

I wonder if she’ll want an ice-cream cake, and if he’ll come to dinner. I’ll make sure she invites him, and reminds him the day before.