The night before he leaves, he stands on the back porch, barefoot, shirtless, and shivering, while our sister, E, shaves his head. It is already short, but he insists--cheaper now than later, under the shears of a fort barber. The shorn head sets his cheekbones and chin in sharp relief, makes his blue eyes brighter. Our baby, our soldier, all grown up and in camo.
A day later and I am clipping plastic clothespins on bridal gowns with B, making selections on whims and with excellent taste. Who knew there could be so many shades of white and ivory! Who would have guessed the varieties of taffeta, silk, and chiffon! She emerges from the dressing room to showcase sweetheart necklines, empire waists, bows and sashes, trains, bustles, and veils. My little sister, all grown up and glowing in lace.
My hair is long, and I'm wearing blue jeans, not lace. But I'm making my own kind of progress. I'm two applications shy of being done, and the writing sample just got accepted to a conference in North Carolina--my first grown-up presentation. It's an auspicious beginning to the year.