In Which Time Flies Faster Than I Can Process
Today my niece Regi graduates from college. She has crammed an unfathomable amount of studies into the past four years. She's been living at a sort of hyper speed for the last three trips around the sun, splitting her attentions between several varied departments of study. In the end she has earned a Bachelor's of the Arts and Bachelor's of Philosophy along with a handful of certificates in Japanese/Japanese studies. Whew!
I could not be more proud of her.
Not so long ago, when Reg was 10 months old her mother (my sister) had to go out of town for work. Geo and I got to watch this smiling bundle of absolute heaven for three days. One night while I was feeding her her nightly bottle, she looked up at me with her enormous deep blue eyes, gave me a big ole toothless smile and let fly with a huge, full-on belly laugh. You know the one I'm talking about, it emanates from a cherub's adorable little toes and rocks her entire tiny baby body with pure unmitigated joy. It's completely irresistible! We spurred each other on, laughing about nothing for about 20 minutes until tears were flowing from both of our eyes.
Seriously. Look at that smile. How could that face not melt your heart and make you want to shower her with love and kisses and ponies?
These are some of my favorite pictures of her as a tot. They make me laugh out loud and warm me to the bone.
I don't think I could care for her more if she was my own kid. She was always a happy child, full of life, laughter and elan. She has maintained these qualities throughout her young adult life. We bonded that evening, and she has been a constant ray of sunshine in my world from that day forth.
Now she's all grown up and starting her life's journey. Sure she doesn't know exactly what she's going to do, but she's smart--really smart and courageous and willing to take a chance to follow her dream--whatever that turns out to be. She'll figure it out. I believe Regi can achieve anything she sets her mind to. I have no doubt she will succeed beautifully.
So one chapter ends, turning the page for the next. This is a bittersweet day for me. Reg is young, beautiful, hopeful, unafraid and unattached. She can cast her net wide and spread her wings to freely explore the numerous opportunities this crazy blue planet holds for her. I'm excited for the little girl who stole my heart, but sad for us. She'll be moving to Japan in July to teach English with the chance to apply for a business position that will make her stay long term. When she leaves this time... she'll be gone for good. We likely won't see her again for a very, very long time. Thank God for skype, right? At least we'll get to see her vibrant face over the interweb.
So here's to you Reg. Go forth and knock the socks off of this effing world! Remember: be safe, be smart, be kind, be brave, be happy, be true to yourself... and wear sunscreen. And most importantly, don't forget you are loved and always, ALWAYS have a home to return to even if it's just to recharge between adventures.
I love you with every fiber of my beating heart. Miss you already...