On a quiet, snowy, Sunday ride I heard four small words that began to finalize in my heart and soul, that indeed, my apron strings are hanging by a thread. "I'm going to go," she said softly but with much conviction.
We were in the bug and the sound track to Garden State was playing in the background. The song was by Colin Hay entitled, I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You. I had to turn the music down and ask her what she said, although I had heard loud and clear. And so she said it again, "I'm going to go to California."
When she was little she used to say to me with her tiny arms wrapped around my legs, "Hold you?", Hold you?" I guess she substituted "you" for "me" because I always said to her, "want me to hold you?"
And now she was asking me to let her go.
The tears instantly welled up and waited patiently to hear the rest of her reasoning. Which actually kinda caught me off guard.
"Don't you want me to go?" Yes...hell no! I wanted to scream. What I really wanted was to turn the clock back and enjoy the fricken heck out of each day I've been privileged to have her call me mom.
"Yes, sweetie, of course I want you to go. It will be the experience of a lifetime for you," I heard myself saying. But it was muffled and weak.
Why didn't somebody tell me how hard this was going to be? I want to be able to reach out and touch, hug, and squeeze her hand at my choosing. Cell phones and e-mail cannot speak to my heart like the sensation of touch. People can live without all the other senses---but babies would actually shrivel up and die with out someone holding them.
She was rambling on then about finding a black church with some kick ass choir, meeting new people, and what she was thinking of singing for the collage fundraiser. She jumped from subject to subject...something about remaining just friends and how her and Meghan have all but one class together to finish out their last semester. I didn't hear it all. I was too busy trying to turn off the tsunami and shut down the damn flood gates.
I know for certain I will never forget that short ride to church on such a cold January morning.
It's time to start letting go--It's her time.
But I will always "hold you" even if it's just in my heart.