At first, she could only go on vacation for a few days at a time, and she cried the whole time.
I hated those “vacations.” They were neither for her nor for me. I would even say it’s not a vacation for her dad, since I doubt he enjoys seeing his only child cry for a woman he doesn’t like.
Because of me and the choice I made, she had to go through what she did. I take full responsibility. It’s not that being with her dad was intended to be a kind of corporal punishment, but when you’re young, a girl, and struggling with attachment difficulties, it might feel like one. I cautioned her father not to take it personally, but she seemed to pick up on the fact that he did.
It was challenging for her when she was an only child.
When she wasn’t around, I didn’t have the maternal instincts that I normally did.
Being Anna’s mother encompasses a significant portion of who I am as a person.
When she was not here, she was missing out.
We continued on without her presence.
Before she left, she would go over to her younger sister and whisper in her ear, “Don’t grow while I’m gone.”
I design a menu for the night before she leaves and the night she returns home that includes all of her favorite dishes.
Before she leaves, I’ll make spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. When she returns, I’ll make shepherd’s pie.
When she was younger, we used to read over the packing list that her dad would provide and pack her suitcase together. At the same time, we would wipe away one other’s tears and make each other false promises that the week would go by quickly.
In the days leading up to it, we make an effort to hold hands a little more, gaze into each other’s eyes a bit more, embrace each other a little tighter, and say, “I am really going to miss you,” whenever we have the chance.
The night before she goes, we spend the night together in my bed for a sleepover.
My husband willingly gives up his place in bed so that the two of us may read novels like Junie B. Jones, which eventually led to Judy Blume, which eventually led to Us Magazine.
The most of the time, we either play with each other’s hair or just sit together in peace while reading our individual books. Occasionally, we paint our toenails or eat Ranch-flavored Pringles.
Without her, our family is incomplete, much like a puzzle that’s missing a piece.
As I sit here at two in the morning and type this, she will depart in four hours and 25 minutes to spend a week in a cabin in the middle of the woods in a different state with her other family.
When she is sound asleep, I will periodically massage her back, play with her long hair, and simply try to savor these final moments.
This stunning, infuriating, fantastic, frustrating, and loving adolescent takes a piece of my heart with her whenever she travels, whether it’s to Minnesota or elsewhere.
I am going to really, really miss her.