Change is a heartless bitch at times and a welcome friend at others--guess it depends on what the change is and whether you saw it coming and welcomed it. Part of being a teacher is accepting a routine of change--semesters pass, summer sessions and minimesters compress a semester, and students come and go. There's a rhythm and flow to courses, and change is constant throughout the semester: students get comfortable, relationships form, knowledge deepens and the class roster goes through changes. Not every student who begins the semester with me will make it to the end. Some leave early, before they've become familiar to me, but others stick around long enough for me to miss their presence.

So change is something I deal with routinely as part of my work. Change is also part of my online life, as well. Bloggers come and go, friendships start and stutter, while others grow ever stronger and closer. It's similar to school, where people are constantly coming and going from my life.

Change is also constant as a hospice volunteer, and one I'm learning to accept and appreciate, that I can be there at key times, but not there when my presence is no longer needed.

At home, though, routine's the name of the game, and change often comes slowly, especially when it comes to Bobby and his skill development. His presence in my daily life is a constant, so when he's not there, wow. Bobby's always there. He went camping with his grandparents in April, but as the girls, Rick and I were busy at a golf tournament, it wasn't quite as obvious as it was this week when he left on Tuesday with his grandparents for another camping trip.

Fortunately, he came home this afternoon, and I was happy to see his smiling face. We texted while he was gone, and one evening he even texted me "sweet dreams," which melted my heart. He's a keeper, my boy, with a wide open heart.

Lily rushed to him this afternoon when she saw him and hugged him and Rosie wandered his way and greeted him. We were all, in our own ways and for our own reasons, happy to have him home. He is part of the fabric of our lives, and when he's not there, it feels like threads unraveling.

He had a good time while he was gone, and we got along okay with him gone, but it was quiet here without him. His laugh didn't ring out. His constant chattering wasn't there, and Lily was quieter without him here. Rosie wandered at loose ends, not as connected and interactive as when he's here.

It was a window into what daily life would be like if he were like other 22 year olds and out on his own. While I want and hope Bobby will continue to grow and learn and increase his skill set so that he can be as self-reliant as possible, I hope that he will always be close to us; I may dream of a day where he can live independently, but that doesn't mean I'd want him much farther away than next door.

I'm happy to have him back home. Some changes can wait a good long while, you know? Besides, he's a great cook, and he's the only one who routinely gives me a peck on the cheek every morning and every night. It's nice to be loved, you know.