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Another step closer

We climbed the winding curves on a highway named "The Rim of the World," and then dropped our little one off for a week of summer camp. "Another step closer," my friend texted me. I knew what she meant. She's another step closer to independence, to braving the world on her own.

At twelve years old, she's looking at the curve in her road, the shift from childhood to adolescence. My hope is that she will take a slower, wiser, more deliberate pace than I did, that she can let go of this chapter as it feels natural, embrace the new as she feels ready. As she travels this path, I travel along with her, my path different but parallel, letting her go so I can grasp what's next.

Being a mom sometimes feels like a countdown, a series of milestones at a breathtaking clip, this curve in her road taking us both in its enormity, its inevitability, its wonder. Earlier this week, she lost her last baby tooth. Yesterday, she got her first pair of glasses. Today, she's off to camp.

When I looked at her this morning, I saw a pretty girl looking back at me, not a cute baby but a the whisper of the young woman inside. It sneaked up on me, pulled at my heart.

I sat tonight in her empty room, folded her discarded tee shirts are rearranged her stuffed animals.

The long countdown is always in the back of my head, but at this moment, I'm thinking of a shorter one, the countdown until the end of the week, til she comes home. Home to stuffed animals, swim parties tooth fairies and popsicles. Home to her loving dad

and me.

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