It has been nine days since we brought our daughter to college. Her absence is palpable. There are moments when I acutely miss everything about her -- her heavy footsteps coming down the stairs at the crack of noon, her Dagwood-inspired sandwich making, complete with sliced olives and pickles, her spontaneous bear hugs and her rapier wit. Mostly, I miss her energy. As my grandmother would have said, she is not a shrinking violet. She does not enter a room, she infuses it. She artfully asseses everyone else's mood and zeroes in on the one whose spirit is most in need of lifting. She is almost always sucessful, especially with her father. She called him Sunday afternoon after the Yankees beat the Red Sox. He was at work in our home office, engrossed in preparations for the upcoming week. His face lit up as I handed him the phone and told him that she was calling to speak to him. "Hey, Sweetie," I heard as I left the room. Moments later, he came downstairs, practically skipping, clearly done with work for the rest of the day.
My younger son misses how she would explain things to him. Last night, he asked me what "flirt" means. I answered, "To interact with someone of the opposite sex whom you find attractive to solicit their interest in you." He responded that Emily would have given him a simpler answer that he would have understood. I channeled my daughter and rephrased, "The way a boy or girl talks to someone they like." That seemed to work. What would Emily do? I will have to remember to ask myself that more often.