A few days ago I was rushing through my local shopping centre, running late for an appointment (as always), when a tall man put out a hand to stop me.
When I looked up (because he was towering over me), I realised I knew him.
It was Rowan.
In what seems like another lifetime ago, I was married and was welcomed into my husband’s family. And Rowan was the eldest son of my brother-in-law.
I’d last seen Rowan when he was around 14 years old. And now, there he was so much taller, 21 and all grown up.
He asked me how I was and what I was doing and, although I answered his questions, I was far more interested in learning about his life.
I wanted to know everything.
Where was he working? What happened to his plans to go into the Navy? Did he have a girlfriend? Were they engaged? Was he still living at home? What were his siblings up to these days?
My questions came out in such a rush and it wasn’t just because I didn’t have long to chat. I was desperate to know what his life was like now. And how his brothers and sisters and parents were.
Because, although I haven’t seen them for so long, I still care about them all very much. And hearing about how those kids were all turning out, and how Rowan’s parents were, mattered a lot.
I told Rowan I still had a photo of him and his siblings in a frame sitting on my bookcase in the hallway. And although I’m not an active member of their family anymore, I can’t bring myself to put it away.
Because I knew them all when they were newborns. And I watched them grow from babies to children to teenagers.
I must confess that I wasn’t so keen on kids when Rowan and then his brothers and sisters first began to arrive into this world. I was in my early twenties and children just weren’t part of my life’s equation.
But as the years passed and I got to know each of them, and they got to know me too, I grew to love them.
In all honesty, sometimes it was easier to be around them than the adults. Children don’t ask a lot from you I guess. They just want you to be interested, to care and to listen. At least that’s what I think.
So as I stood there talking to Rowan I felt so proud of how he had turned out. He is a beautiful young man.
And as I drove away I shed a sentimental tear or two for the family I had to walk away from all those years ago. But I guess some of them still remember me. After all, Rowan didn’t have to stop me to chat.
But he did. So I guess that means he remembers me as someone who was important in his life.
And that makes me so happy because I remember them all with love. And perhaps, when you love someone, they never forget.