but sometimes you want to, which actually is funny when you think about it, because back then, a lot of the time, you didn't want to BE there. The sippy cups and strewn toys and how many little shoes can one little person own? More than you, which is another funny thing.
The summer before she went to kindergarten, she trailed after you everywhere, sometimes even following you into the bathroom, sucking her thumb, clutching her dolly, that absurdly-loved thing that she literally sucked the face off. One night when she was sleeping, you slid it out from under her arm and did a face transplant
taking another lookalike doll and carefully scissoring the clean, unsucked face around the edges and attaching it over the gross, chewed on one. The end result, a horrifying frankenstein mish-mash, but she didn't seem to notice. Every night before she went to bed she spread out her next day clothes on the floor beside her bed,
a little girl self. Dress, leggings, socks, whichever pair of her million little shoes, and then she crept into your bedroom and made one for you
out of the rarely to never-worn-again items in your closet. An old bridesmaid dress, for example, and tottering high heels. A little mommy out of clothes, she said, but you were only taking her to pre-school or doing a grocery trip and so you never wore her carefully assembled outfits.
Who knows, you were probably still wearing your old maternity pants back then, counting the days down to kindergarten and she would leave, dolly tucked in her backpack, just in case, and you would have the house alone for a few precious hours
and weren't you surprised when the day finally came how very quiet the house was.
Even then you knew you couldn't go back. And that was just the beginning of the goings-away. You're such a pro now, you. Summer camps, college, studies abroad, a year overseas, cut off abruptly and scarily by the pandemic, and now another going-away,
the final one, maybe,
rightly, and you are rooting for her to go, really, despite how quiet the house will be. A friend tells you it's okay to say "And." As in, "I'm glad she's leaving, restarting her adult life AND I wish she could stay."
You can't go back, and you want so badly some days to do that,
if only to whisper to a long ago self: in the morning when you find she's made for you a little mommy out of clothes--no matter how silly it is--
|My dolly with her dolly|