Today is not that day

I walk into my apartment and do a quick scan. Pile of textbooks on the dining room table.  Headphones on the footstool.  Glasses on the kitchen counter. I decide to spare my teenage daughter the “things in places where they don’t belong” rant.  Misplaced items signal her presence-at least for two more years, until she graduates.  From the kitchen, I can see her in the bathroom mirror, getting ready to go somewhere not with me.  My woman-child has changed into a long-sleeved, curve-hugging plum colored shirt and is brushing her long brown hair.   If she knew how long I had watched her, she would call me a creeper.

“Hey,” I greet her casually.

“What’s up?”   Once upon a time, she lit up when she saw me. I would find myself entangled by spindly arms and legs followed by the excited squeal of, “Mommy!”  The charge of the hug brigade has dwindled to this.

“Whatcha doin?” I ask.

“Gettin’ ready to go to David’s.” He would get the hugs that were once mine.

I am wondering where my little girl went.  The one who everyone called my shadow, following me from room to room and having near panic attacks when I left her sight. Now she is leaving me more and more and I am the one with anxiety.

“We won’t be out late,” she assures me, walking out the door. She is a good girl. She follows rules and makes good choices. She values my trust.  I am learning to trust her judgment and to respect her newfound independence.  We are navigating our way through a grown up mommy and me relationship. It’s sad and scary and exciting, and I only have two years left to get it all sorted out.

The door closes behind her. Gone are the days of goodbye hugs.  The dog looks at the door, then back at me.  “She’ll be back,” I say, to comfort myself as much as her.

I sit on the couch and look at the books left on the table, so annoyingly out of place. I think about moving them but decide to let them stay. They signal that my daughter is where she belongs. One day she, the books, headphones and glasses will be gone. But today is not that day.


“Dragonflies are real!”

In loving memory of Allison Delaney Walker July 2, 1996 - April 18, 2012
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