When we got home from Florida last night, I put all the electronic reading devices away for a while, and ran straight to my library book bag where a fresh stack of bound books was waiting for me. What to read? During the holiday, I finished The Castaways, by Elin Hilderbrand, who has recently become one of my favorite authors in the women’s fiction category. I had just dipped into The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second in the famous Steig Larrson trilogy, but there is something razor-sharp and vicious about those books, and I felt too tender last night to continue with it. So I pulled The Charming Quirks of Others, an Isabel Dalhousie novel, out of the bag and immediately felt I had found my book. I needed the quiet charm of Alexander McCall Smith’s heroine, was desperate for her good common sense and her pure approach to life, was hungry for the quiet companionship of her gentle nature.
I returned from this trip a bit sore at heart, for a chapter of our lives has closed this Christmas. My son, whose home in Florida was just down the road from ours, will be moving to Texas next week. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him, and while I am excited and pleased (of course I am!) for him, I’m also confronted once again with the specter of change, and reminded that our children are never really our children, but “the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.”
So I was lying in my bed late last night, reading myself to sleep as I always do, and Isabel Dalhousie, my good literary friend, suddenly describes exactly what I’m feeling as she hurries home to greet her two year old son:
…she would have to rush to be home when Charlie arrived. She wanted to be there in the hall…to hold him tightly against her, which he allowed, but only for a few seconds, before he began to struggle to escape her embrace. That was the lot of the mother of sons; one embraced and held them, but even in their tenderness they were struggling to get away, and they would.
Oh, yes, they definitely would.