The house is quiet today. There is no “music” streaming – no, blasting – from some electronic device in my oldest’s room. There is no complaining about how “the twins ate all my cereal” Even her room is neat. Normally this would make me happy except… except…
We dropped her off at camp yesterday. It is her third time away. She doesn’t stay all summer, just a few, short weeks which seem interminable to me. My buddy is not here with me, my sidekick who is my size. The first baby. She looked so pretty when I walked into the cabin. And as I looked around at her new cabin mates for the first time I expected to see little faces of little girls, but there was something different about them this year. They were nameless to me, but these weren’t the faces of “little girls” anymore. These girls looked different. Young and pretty but in a “big girl” kind of way. It surprised me, but I don’t know why. My “baby” doesn’t look that much like a baby anymore, either, but I see the toddler in her still. I know what a “Mommy I’m a little nervous” feeling looks like on her, but other people don’t. They see a beautiful, petite girl with olive skin and dark hair and eyes. I still see her at 20 inches and 8 pounds.
So “Daddy” and I hugged and kissed her goodbye and stepped back. And then I went to give her a second big hug and she said “Mommy, don’t. I will start to feel homesick and cry.” Her eyes teared up a little bit, and she put on her glasses. And instead of going in for the second hug, which I realized at that moment was really for ME, I smiled and stopped. I realized that the first big hug and kiss was enough for her, and that she was OK. I realized that I was the one that needed a second hug, and to give it to her and to unbalance her would be unfair. And I remembered when she started pre-school and the teachers all said, if she turns around to play with her friends and isn’t crying or running to you, just walk away. She will be OK.
So Daddy and I turned to leave, and as I looked back she and her friend walked into the cabin.