The Princess has already begun the countdown. The calendar has come from the school and the date of commencement is written there, so I guess it’s happening. In a little more than two weeks, the Princess will pose out front for the very last first day picture, our fifteenth. She starts taking college courses concurrently, just a week after her senior year begins in hopes of graduating high school as a sophomore in college.
A few weeks ago, the Princess was driving home from a round of errands. In the past six months of her sporadic, and then more regular, driving in preparation for her license (coming late, but now coming soon) I’ve relaxed. She’s grown in her ability. She’s becoming more adult and the white knuckled grasp I’ve had upon her for so very long has begun to loosen.
I have dreaded this time for so long. When the Princess was still being rocked to sleep in my arms, I would cry over her growing up. When she was an only child, I’d creep into her bedroom at the exact time she was born and sob over another year gone. And, even now, I can’t believe how quickly the time went. People always said it went by in a blink, but I didn’t realize how true that was. Wasn’t the Princess starting Kindergarten just a few years ago? It doesn’t feel like yesterday anymore, but it certainly doesn’t feel like 13 years ago. Thirteen years sounds so far away, but it doesn’t feel like that.
When the Princess was a baby, I knew every tiny detail about her. I knew what she liked to watch and play and eat. I knew the exact way to rub her face to get her to drift off to sleep. I knew the way her toes pointed and how her hair would stick up in the morning. I knew everything. We revolved around each other like the earth and the moon.
And then she went to preschool and I knew a little less about her life. Those handful of hours each week was time she spent away from me, doing things I wouldn’t know all the details of. For once I didn’t know the exact details of what she played or what she ate for snack, unless she told me. She began to experience life without me. That pattern has continued. We don’t revolve around each other anymore. She still lives a lot of her life with us, but a larger portion of it has become something we’ll never do with her.
That was so hard for me to imagine for a long time. How could I exist without this knowing? How would I manage not knowing every thought and idea and feeling? I can’t tell you how I manage it, I just do. It’s not as painful now. It’s okay.
“Story time”, she announces, when she comes home from school. And, it’s not everything, but it’s enough.