"Have you ever had a weekend that was so wonderful it felt like a week, Mom?" Kaitlyn asks. She has just returned home from her very first trip away with a friend and now I am watching my daughter mature before my very eyes.
With half of a smile I answer, "Yes, dear, I have." But she isn't listening, she is too consumed with deatails... "And we stayed up talking until midnight...oh, and we went to a dance and five boys asked me to dance with them." She watches my expression. "But, I said no," she adds with a sympathetic smile that tells me she is reading my mind.
I am trying desperately to remember the baby I once held not so long ago, recalling promises I made to be the best mother ever. I had always heard that children eventually grow up, but thinking backto those early years there was no tangible evidence...she was my baby and that was how it was supposed to stay.
Fast forward some fourteen years and here we stand, in the kitchen, talking about boys and dancing. It is now that I realize, I am losing her s-l-o-w-l-y.
"We walked on the beach and ate french fries...I even tipped the waitress!" She smiles. At the very least I have taught her to be respectful.
"Kate, it's going on ten o'clock," I say, faking a yawn. Subconciously, I am trying to persuade her into feeling tired, but it is not working. She has too much to share.
"I even got my picture in the newspaper," she continues. "I was stringing beads onto this bracelet and a reporter asked me if she could take my picture with the store owner looking on..."
I manage, "Boy, you did get to see and do a whole lot."
"And, Mom?"...Well,... I missed you," her voice fades.
Suddenly I'm not so tired anymore. My eyes are stinging though, as I try to hide the tears. "Oh Sweetie," I blubber. "I missed you too...I didn't know what to do with myself...I kept going into your room, but you weren't there...I kept trying to find something to keep me busy and..."
Here is when Kaitlyn yawns. A real yawn that tells me she is beginning to feel the effects of her busy weekend.
I look at her sleepy eyes and am again reminded of the tiny baby who kept me up many nights silently conversing with me through stares and blinks. Those conversations melted my heart then, just as her new ones do now. She is growing up, I tell myself, but she is also taking me along...
"Let's go to bed, Katie," I say. Arm in arm, we head toward the staircase.
Tonight, I am sure, we both will dream of conversations about boys, beaches and frenchfries.