Just a little longer
Not surprisingly, I heard that little voice again as I lay in bed watching "Mystery Diagnosis" last night. "Mama, I wanna come in your bed." I reminded her that she needs to sleep in her own bed. Undeterred, she went back to her room and returned with her blue IKEA chair and positioned it next to the bed. And then she was on my pillow seconds later. I watched her brush a curled tendril out of her face and smiled as I noticed that her little hands are still a bit chubby. As are her cheeks. Soon she will enter a growth spurt and her little Buddha belly will be gone for good.
I blink. She is 5. She turns to wave as she climbs onto the school bus. It is her first day of kindergarten. She is not the type of kid to cry on her first day of school. But I am the type of mother to wail long and loud. My daughter hops on the bus and sits next to a kid she doesn't know. And starts talking to her, because she is that kind of kid.
She is 10. I have taken her to the amusement park with her friends. I hold her cotton candy while she rides the Ferris wheel with the others. I cup my hand over my eyes to shield them from the sun as I search each swaying car, looking for my baby. She sees me and waves.
She is 13. She is mad at me. I have told her that she is too young to date a boy. (My friend Jen says that his name will be Scab.) She storms off and yells "You're not my real mother!" over her shoulder. Her bedroom door slams.
She is 18. She is leaving for college today. She pulls out of our driveway much too fast and heads down the street. She thrusts her arm out of the window and gives one last wave. I want to run after her, but I don't.
She nodded. "Here I am."