Around 10am this morning I noticed the lonely brown paper sack sitting in the fridge. It was someone’s forgotten lunch, so I texted my daughter to ask if it was hers. It was. Her lunch break was only 45 minutes away so she asked if I would drop it off. I was headed out anyway so I said, “of course.” I took it out, folded over the top and stapled it shut. Catching a glimpse of the pink highlighter nearby I picked it up, popped off the lid and spontaneously filled in a pink heart on the front of the bag above her name. Several minutes later it was waiting for her at the school’s front office.
I’m familiar with this routine – getting the call, “I forgot my (homework, folder, flute, Xanax, just kidding, Advil, not just kidding, underwear, still not kidding, running shoes etc.)” so I grab the item, jump in the car and make my way to the school. Sometimes this exasperates me, other times I’m happy to help. It usually depends on whether I’ve showered yet. I’ve shown up in various forms of impressiveness/shame at that front office but today was extra special. I was on my way to help my friend do some painting so I had not showered, was wearing paint stained overalls (overalls!) (with paint ALL over them) (they're going to make a comeback I just know it), had no make up on, and then, because it was cold I threw on a fleece jacket OVER my OVERalls just to help me get that female lumberjack who needs lap band surgery feel.
Rare form guys, RARE FORM.
Later tonight we decided to run through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A before dropping Drew off at basketball practice and on the way home, the girl who forgot her lunch just started talking. And talking and talking. She prattled on about school, boys, friends, teachers…. At one point she paused for emphasis before adding, “Mom, I LOVE ENGLISH. I mean, when have I EVER loved English?” Her teacher is someone that she adores, who went so far as to cheer for my Samantha when she spotted her after school running drills with the track team today. I love teachers who root for their kids, especially when “their” kids are mine.
The car ride monologue eventually transitioned to the kitchen as we arrived home. I set to work unloading the dishwasher and just listened as Samantha analyzed her high school life and I marveled at her awareness and ability to dissect the psychology of it all. That girl is paying attention to the world around her – she knows what she wants, and she knows what she doesn’t want. She gets it when people are being manipulative, and her senses warn her when someone is being inauthentic.
I’m just listening.
I squirted some detergent on the dishrag and started to move it in circles around the counter as she talked about some of the decisions she is making and why she’s making them. This whole time I thought she was just cruising along but no, she’s making conscious choices - freaking awesome conscious choices. As I stood there and relished this seemingly out of body, glorious moment she suddenly stopped, looked up at the clock and gasped, “Oh! I have to go!” I checked the clock also and confirmed, “Yes, you do. Drive safe, have fun. I love you!” I called out as she grabbed the keys and headed for the door. Seconds later the door reopened and she re-emerged from around the corner. “Can I just give you a hug?” she asked as she came toward me. “Of course, baby girl,” I answered as she threw her arms around me and told me she loved me. I kissed her head and reminded her, “You know you never have to ask.”
After hugging her tight I released her from my grip; she started back toward the door and turned around before shutting it behind her and explained, “You know, when I went to pick up my lunch from the office today the security guard saw the heart you drew on the bag. He commented about it then told me I should go home and give you a hug and I thought to myself, ‘Yep, I definitely should.’ Anyway, ‘bye Mom.” And with that she was gone.
I stood motionless and stared at the freshly closed door, soaked in the lingering presence of that child who is mine and my eyes began to sting.
I’m so glad she’s mine.