I drive her to her friend’s house for her first sleepover.
She slams the car door and runs to her friend without looking back, giggling as they disappear inside the house.
thirteen years of painstaking love, care, joy, worry, and fear,
thirteen years of wanting to protect her from everything; illness, elements of weather, sadness, disappointment..
The fences I built around her, foolishly imagining I had control.
Where did the baby that fit perfectly in the crook of my arm go?
I can sometimes see the woman, elbowing her way out of the girl;
a hateful angry stare when I’m being too controlling,
then the child, I love you mommy, once more.
Soon, she’ll be gone for good; for college, work, or love.
The endless photo albums I’ve collected over the years, my only treasure.
Nobody told me, when they tore her from my flesh thirteen years ago, that I am the discarded chrysalis,
nobody told me that this will be the longest, slowest, and most devastating break-up.
What makes a mother?
The knowing of when to embrace, and when to let go.