Finding Her Place

Have you ever seen those photos that people take of their kids in the exact same spot or with the exact same toy over lots of years? It's a wonderful way to mark the passage of time and show the child's growth and how they've changed and grown.

You know I'm a big fan of then and now photos. I think they make me much more appreciative of the good times we've had, while also helping me be "in the moment."

We have a tradition that we do every year where we take a vacation week down in Del Mar, California and go surfing (well, my husband and kids do the actual surfing while I sit on the beach and document the magic, but that's not important right now). 

We usually take the week that Lucy celebrates her birthday and Eric and I celebrate our anniversary. It was 5 years ago that the Photo Tradition began outside of Filippi's Pizza Grotto in San Diego's Little Italy

Fillipi's is a mom-and-pop-family-style restaurant where there are no reservations and you enter through a funky, genuine Italian market to get to the back of the store where you find a full service restaurant with the requisite chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. The food is always good and the ambiance great. The line usually runs out the door and down the street. Yes, it's that good. 

So we usually find ourselves queuing up as we kill time during our wait. Five years ago, on August 11, 2010, my 17 year old girl sat down and I shot this photo.


Thus began a tradition of celebrating this girl's birthday with a visit to Little Italy and taking The Photo.

August 11, 2011. She had graduated from high school before the summer began, dyed her hair red and cut it all off. 


August 11, 2012. She's 19 years old and testing out some blond highlights. 


August 11, 2013. Is it possible that she is already 20 years old? Also, notice how fast her hair grows! The food at Fillipi's is still consistently good. My girl is consistently changing.



A few months ago, on August 11, 2014, we were back at our favorite Italian restaurant, celebrating yet another Lucy Birthday. A Milestone. People, my daughter is now 21 years old. 

As you can see, the photo is taken from a wider view. You can see many more details as you move further back. While it appears to be the same, there's so much more to the picture.


So it is with this girl's life.

She turned 21 and has been working hard to "get a life." She works at a few creative (but, happily, very well paying) jobs and has saved enough and planned well enough to move out on her own. 

My family celebrated this milestone by throwing a "Castaway" Party. As in, "if you have any castaways, Lucy can sure use some stuff for her new apartment." 

The Cubans came through because "any excuse for a party." Duh.


They gave her lamps and dishes and towels and tape. Like a shower, but not. It was quite fantastic. 

And now, Lucy is settling in, not far from us, into a place of her own. She did this in today's economy, without a roommate (we're really proud of her for managing that). She knows who she is and what she wants. And it's kind of fun watching as she gets her life together. 

I'm so pleased with the person she's becoming. Of course, I know I'm so not the typical Cuban mother. I'm working hard on my end to give her "space and grace." If I freak out a little (and of course, I do), I keep those emotions confined to the pages of my journal or to the quiet conversations I have with Eric. 

Because truly, my job here is pretty much done. This is her time.


So, I'm feeling all confident and sad and happy and scared as the moving van pulls away. 


Lucy's cat saying goodbye.

She quickly sends me a photo showing me she's settling in to her new place.


That's my girl. She's going to be ok.