I see her. She sits at the kitchen table, the laptop is open and her hand is on the mouse, but she is looking out the window. She looks bored. Her eyes follow the movements of her four-year-old daughter. She looks back at the laptop. She clicks to refresh the screen. No new emails. She turns back to the window.
I know what is going through her mind, she is wondering what her son is doing right at this moment. She knows he is fine, but she can’t stop wondering. He’s been her constant companion for six years. But now, three weeks into kindergarten and it’s like he’s been going to school all his life.
This morning she walked him into the school as usual, but instead of holding her hand, he ran ahead, into the surging mob of children. She could only watch as he found his own way to his classmates, as he started a conversation with his teacher. She waited for him to remember that he hadn’t given her a kiss goodbye. She waited and waited, her younger child’s hand forgotten in her fist. He never turned around. The teacher marched the children in a sloppy line into the classroom. She watched her son. He smiled and laughed and talked and completely forgot to look, to turn, to see her standing there. Waiting.
I watch her wander around the house while he is gone. She takes good care of her other child. She straightens and washes, she picks up and puts away.
She watches the clock and I can hear her say, “he is having snack time now. Now he’s at lunch. Today is Wednesday, so now he is at the library.”
She watches her daughter playing by herself.
I see a little girl, a second child, just like her mother. She will grow up content within her own thoughts. She won’t seek validation from others, she will grow up confident and strong. She will never be dependent on anyone. Until she has a child. A child so completely a part of her that she will depend on his moods to know her own.
Until the day he forgets to turn back: on that day he will release her. She will return to her own thoughts, recognize her own moods. She will take a breath and look around, and say, “Now what?”