Why isn’t that flag at half mast?
Don’t they know I’m grieving? Doesn’t the whole place know I’m about to let my baby girl walk the stage to receive a diploma and then leave the stage. And leave me?
In that deep heart feeling as I watch the flag, I feel a painful appreciation for you that I’ve never experienced before, mom. The way I felt when I rubbed dad’s name at the veteran’s memorial. When as an adult I began to grasp the danger and pain and sacrifice of Vietnam.
My mind does a flash back to two people crying. A mom and a daughter. Crying all the way through a Texas church service. Our last Sunday before you drive away from me at college. As the service finishes a kindly old man and his wife touch our shoulders and ask if we’re okay. I’m the president of the university. I promise we’re going to take good care of your little girl. We cry some more. They sat through an entire church service, watching a mother trying to imagine letting go. Trying to imagine not having her daughter crashing about the house anymore.
That moment is all I can think about this mother’s day. You let me go. I’m searching back in my mind to see how you managed it. How did you make me feel so free and so loved and so secure? Free enough to go to a college I had never heard of four states away from home. Loved enough to be happy wherever I went. Secure enough to fly up high like a kite without feeling lost and alone. How did you do it mom?
My little girl takes a personal finance class. We talk about credit cards and balancing checkbooks. Savings accounts and retirement plans.
You are my biggest investment, little girl, and now I am about to give you away. Give you away to the world, because you are too beautiful a work of art for me to hang in an obscure, safe corner of my little house. The world deserves to enjoy you.
How did you do it, mom?
· A kajillion batches of hot chocolate chip cookies waiting for me after school.
· Every single new Trixie Belden book ever written, bought for me.
· Wait mom, can I just tell you one more thing? as you keep trying to close the door after tucking me in. You keep listening.
· Don’t stop playing. I love to hear you play the piano, you said.
· Breakfast for supper.
· Kissing is like cauliflower. You acquire a taste for it, you said.
So much goodness poured into me. Then goodness let go.
We’ve been here again this year. Mom, I want to be a writer, I say to you over the phone. You send me an email saying you love my blog and you can’t wait to read more. You read it every day. Here you are again encouraging me –to take my little suitcase of words and go out into the world.
How do you do it, mom? Invest so much and then give it away?
You are an incredible woman. I hope I’m doing it as well as you did –this letting go of a little girl.
I love you,