Friday, August 9, 2019
When Lora Leigh was about 2 years old, we took her to the local church fair for some fun and games.
When we got to the area folks had set up their lawn chairs to listen to the bands play, I put my little girl down so she could dance to the music.
Well, my little girl turned into a pink Tasmanian Devil.
She took off and never looked back.
My curly haired girl went to the middle of the circle of chairs and danced her little tushy off, turning herself in dizzying circles. She never once turned around to see where her dad and I were -- or if we even were still there.
We never let her out of our sight, mind you, and we moved ourselves to keep up with her. The few times I did try to catch her little arm to pull her back to my safety, she shrugged me off and kept going around in circles. "No, Ma," she seemed to be saying. "I don't need you. Let me go."
And, although she won't say them, those are the words my heart will hear next week when I drop her off at college five hours away.
"Let me go."
I know I have to. It's her time to leave the nest and fly on her own. She's smart, practical, mature, ready. But that doesn't make it any easier on my heart. I waited so long to get her.
We've both spent the last few months preparing for this moment. She by leaving the house as often as possible or hiding in her room. Me by reminding myself that this is what it's going to be like without her.
One day I had a brief conversation with her through her bedroom door. At the end I palmed the wood with love and said, "I'm sure going to miss talking to this door."
And I'm going to miss the little trail of personal items she leaves from the front door to the door of her room -- keys, shoes, purse, headphones, whatever she just bought at the store.
And the products all over the counter in the bathroom because 1) she is a product junkie and 2) everything MUST be within reach and not hidden away in some cabinet.
And the five different shampoos and conditioners in the shower.
And the wet towels on my bedroom chair.
And her dishes in the sink.
And the sound of her beautiful voice singing in the shower.
And her asking "Mom, will you straighten my hair?"
But I also miss the little girl who wore nothing but pink, who lived in a pink room and drank pink milk out of her bottle. Cold.
I miss the pink ball of energy and excitement who explored the world with such enthusiasm. I used to love to take her to the mall. She never was a "I want that" kind of kid, but she would shout to the world "Look at the pink shoes!" And everybody did.
I miss the little girl who had her dad trained to go get a damn balloon first thing when we walked in the doors at Walmart. Then we could shop in peace.
I miss the little girl who made us laugh so often, with quips like, "Mom, I have a memory like a hippopotamus."
I miss the little girl who went to baseball games from the time she was two weeks old but couldn't tell you the first thing about the game until last summer when she discovered that boys played it.
I miss her curls.
I miss the silly songs.
The many, many costumes.
I miss watching The Wizard of Oz over and over and over and over.
The little girl who wanted to be a mermaid.
I miss the bedtime stories.
I miss the cuddles in the morning.
I can only wonder what things she will miss about me and her dad and home. Me straightening her hair, for sure. And Sunday roast.
Someone with much better math skills than I and much more time on their hands figured out that, from the time we have a child to the time they leave for college, we only have 940 Saturdays to spend with our children.
All I did was blink and I have one left.
Then I will pack up my car and hers with a whole bunch of stuff she needs and a whole bunch more that she doesn't and take her someplace else to live. Without me.
I will try to just watch as she unpacks it all and decorates her room. I will take her to Walmart for one more run for last minute things.
Then I will let her go.
And try not look back.