The problem is that I don’t want to let go.
She’s all too eager to move on while I’m clinging to memories. Remember four years ago when we went whale watching? Remember when you lost your first tooth? Remember that pink hat you loved? Remember when we bought these clothes? Remember?
She doesn’t want to dwell in the past. She wants to get her driver’s license and her freedom and long acrylic nails. She’s 14 and has no patience for my questions or memories.
Nothing like this concerned me when my boys were growing up and growing older. Maybe because I always had her, my little cohort, the one who was always ready to go to the beach or to the store or anywhere, really. Now, she just wants a ride to her friend’s house or she wants to stay home and watch Netflix while I go alone.
However, I am no idiot. It’s absolutely developmentally appropriate that she ventures farther and farther away from me, that she separates from me.
But it’s hard for me.
And last night, her guinea pig–which had become my guinea pig–died. So not only do I have a giant basket of her cast-off clothes here in my office, ready to be discarded somehow, I also have the empty guinea pig cage, another sign of the times.
Last week, I took her to Barnes & Noble to buy a book she wanted. While we waited to pay, I sniffed the candles displayed for sale. I found one that smelled amazing: gardenia, tuberose and jasmine and thought I would buy it for myself as a belated birthday gift. But it cost $19.99 and I just couldn’t do it.
When we got home, I emptied the curbside mailbox–I am terrible about remembering to get the mail each day–and found a package from my mom. She’d mentioned she was sending something for my birthday.
I opened it and unwound the tissue paper from a wrapped item to reveal a metal tin containing a candle . . . a candle scented with the fragrance of gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine. It was in a metal tin instead of the round glass contained I’d seen at the store, but it was the exact same brand and the exact same scent that I wanted at the bookstore.
This little candle felt like a small miracle, a little reminder of love and family and dreams come true.
I just read (for the first time) Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I wish I’d read it before. If you haven’t read it, you should.