Monday, August 17, 2009

I Thought I'd Be Dancing. . .

But I'm not.

Nor am I doing flips, cartwheels, or high-fiving other mothers of teenage daughters.

Instead, I feel a very strange sense of loss. . . of disappointment. . . and of emptiness. And I'm not quite sure if the tears which have made their way down my cheeks uninvited are those of sadness, joy, or simple relief.

For Trigger has left the building.

Yes, my little four-pound . . . pre-mature . . . speech-delayed. . . palate-expanded. . . spelling-challenged. . . arthritis-ridden. . . attention-deficited. . . lupus-hampered. . . short-tempered. . . disordered-eating. . . all-giving. . . animal-loving. . . warm-hearted. . . beautifully-smiled . . . cautiously-pleasing. . . genius of a vegetarian child has left for college.

And yet, after I ran to her room to make her bed and tidy-up the carnage left in the wake of her packing - it felt strangely empty. And after I rushed to the bathroom to clean up her hair-art and close those damned tri-fold mirrors on the vanity for the last time, I felt as though its very life had been squeezed out of it.
And then, despite myself, I started remembering. . .
I remembered how that little preemie baby came screaming out of her C-section head-first so that my husband screamed - thinking she looked like an alien from some third-rate sci-fi movie.
I remembered all those times I'd wrap her in her kitty-cat towel after her bath and she'd cry, My diggies are dold!
I also remembered all those hours we spent in the speech therapist's office, for goodness knows that - years later - someone might find her in a ditch and not realize that her Piggies were cold! leaving them to fall prey to the ravages of frostbite.
I remembered how she loved roller coasters. . . and pirate ships. . . and bumper cars . . . and anything that would turn your insides into mush.
I remembered her yellow birthday party and her love of St. Bernard's.
I remembered all those nights I tucked her into bed and sang her Baby Mine.
I remembered what she looked like in her Irish dancing costume . . . her track uniform. . .her soccer cleats.
I remembered when - after two years on the team - she scored her first (and only) basket and then promptly broke her ankle upon landing.
I remembered lying side-by-side watching Animal Planet on those many days when she was too sick to even get out of bed.
And I remembered how - shortly thereafter - I relented and found myself with a puppy.

Yes, I remember all of these things.
But what I don't remember is this. . .

When did life get so crazy. . . so hectic. . . so inside-out. . . that I lost track of her? When did negotiations over car keys, and spending money, and sleep-overs, and curfews get to be our primary form of communication? When did not talking to each other become a habit?


You know, as she was leaving in the wee-hours of the morning, Trigger went to wake the dog in order to give her a proper farewell. I know what she wanted. She wanted to have one of those a girl and her best-friend-moments. But the dog - being a creature of habit - could think of nothing other than eating upon her morning wake-up, and so ran right past Trigger and stared at her food bowl. And Trigger? She was undeniably disappointed, but shrugged her shoulders and got in the car.
For old habits die hard.
And as I watched that car drive away this morning, I knew exactly how Trigger had felt just a moment earlier. . .

Oh. . . lest you be feeling a bit sorry for me. . . don't you worry. I have vowed to make it all up with our now-only-child-Ponzi. . . And won't that be fun????