Monday, June 18, 2012

The End of an Era

Last Friday Savannah and I went out for dinner and shopping for her birthday.  It's a tradition that we started years ago.  Actually it doesn't seem like that many years, but it must have been because Savannah just turned 18. 

You remember the girls, yes?  Barry's three daughters.  Some of you who used to work with me at the store will remember their little faces coming to visit every so often.  Others will have heard way too many stories and seen way too many pictures.  They were cute, huh?  Well that's all over now because they've grown up.  I wrote Sierra's eulogy when she went off to college; Mariah's when she graduated from high school, and now Savannah.  I guess she's still cute, for a little while.

Savannah was 3 months old when I moved back to Salt Lake after coming home from my mission.  Such a beautiful baby, and so quiet.  I stayed with Barry and Melody for a few months while looking for an apartment, and slept on a mattress in her room.  On babysitting nights, while the other two ran wild instead of going to bed, Savannah laid quietly on a blanket in the living room waiting for her turn.  I'd go in, see her there, and say, "Oh! Savannah!" then pick her up to cuddle and talk for a while.

Another night, when she was a toddler, I was babysitting again, and this time she was the one who didn't want to go to bed.  She said that she was scared of the monsters in the closet.  I said no, there weren't any monsters in there.  She insisted that of course there were, so I picked her up and carried her to the closet for an inspection.  We took a good look and then I said, "See, no monsters."  She looked at me and said, "Let's go check out on the couch."  Well played, but her move to get out of her bedroom did not work, and she was soon asleep. 

And now she's grown up.  Not as cuddly as she used to be, sometime during middle school she decided that she didn't like hugs.  Ridiculous.  I've been fighting that ever since, and she endures me with the same quiet fortitude that got her through those baby years.  She has a kind heart, a sharp brain, and great sense of humor, and her head on straight, pointed forward.  I really, really love her.  Come January she will be with the other two at BYU-Idaho.  Barry and Melody will be empty nesters.  It's hard to believe.  

I decided some years ago that I would stop buying birthday presents after the kids turned 18 because with so many kids now I had to draw a line somewhere.  But with each one I've been a little sad when that last present was bought.  And Friday, as I drove away from Savannah's house, I couldn't help tearing up a little knowing that not only was it her last birthday outing, but that those years with the girls are done.  It is the end of an era.  A really great era.  I hope they still remember me when they're 100.

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