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February 15, 2010
Oh, my, I said, Aren't you something!

The new amaryllis just blushed prettily and did not reply. Two of her four blooms are out now, and they are a delight to behold: large starry trumpets of creamy white, veined with a delicate pink that deepens to almost scarlet toward the edges of the petals.

Because she was new, we did not know what she would be like beforehand. We had to wait and see. They hold their cards close while they prepare for the great unveiling: the blossom-to-be sheathed in green, plump and growing plumper but not giving out any hints, working in secret on something wonderful that must remain hidden until it is time. Then the creamy white appears, and the tantalizing portent of pink. Or maybe it's another kind of amaryllis, and what peeks through the green sheaf of the bud is a brilliant coral or a deep red. It could be anything under there.

They are like us. What we will be is not always clear when we are young, which is why high school reunions are often a pleasant surprise: most of the mean people have mellowed considerably, the legendary beauties and universally-acknowledged hunks look more like the rest of us, and most of the quiet kids to whom nobody paid any attention have become competent and capable adults. A few of your more delinquent classmates seem to have gravitated toward law enforcement. A lot of people seem to look like their parents. You catch sight of yourself in a plate glass window,and realize that you do, too.

In thirty years of watching young people grow, I have seen many parents despair of their children's chances for anything resembling a happy life because of an inauspicious beginning, and I have seen many a young person start from the very back of the pack and finish well. No two of us have the same path, and some of the more interesting people among us have taken very circuitous routes. So never write yourself off, or your child, no matter what. Never take any disappointment as the final word. We're not done until we're done. And we may not even be done then -- who is to say what God has in store for us when we graduate from here?

Debbie's got my amaryllis in her sights over at the Hodgepodge. Or she will soon.
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