I was midway through a conversation with my oldest daughter before I realized she wasn’t even in the house. How could I have considered that a “conversation”, you ask? Well, that’s the way a lot of them have been conducted lately. Me talking up the stairs to a closed bedroom door. She spends a lot of time that way.
But when did her leaving stop registering with me? When did I lose touch of that? That’s such an un-mom-like thing to do. I’m supposed to know where my kids are at all times. It’s hard-wired into me. She may have told me she was heading to a friend’s house earlier, but I just don’t have that radar anymore to know when she goes out that door.
When she was a toddler, she escaped like that just once. I was near the door too, carrying groceries in, I think, when I saw her tiny body go shooting down the sidewalk at full steam. She drifted out into the street and my heart simply stopped. I dropped what I had in my hands and pounded after her, running perhaps the fastest I ever have, to scoop her up in my arms and dash to the other side. Time stopped when we got there, and we both froze, my two-year old clutched to my chest. I was surging on adrenaline, and she was confused about why I had acted that way. I was just amazed that there really had been no danger, there were no cars on the quiet street. But I could not have reacted any differently.
That was the last time I let myself be so out of touch with where, in relation to the house, my children were. Until now, of course, when she is making her move away from the family. It could be that I finally feel easier about her being able to take care of herself, or that I know she is a responsible and level-headed person. It could be that she takes her independence a bit for granted and acts in a far more autonomous manner these days. Or it just could be the natural way of things as your chicks get ready to leave the nest.
Well, it could be my age making me forget things, too. But we won’t mention that.