She came home for the summer. When she lugged in her suitcases and the odds and ends of blenders and mismatched socks, I was ecstatic. Yes, I worked alot but I was bound and determined to make time to spend time with my girl. It was going to be like old times, going places, doing things, bonding even closer than ever before. I even made a list of things that we were going to do and posted them on my closet door. Our first evening together we were inseparable...
She was different, though. I quickly realized that, although she was growing and maturing with each passing day, that this little girl was a full-blown woman now. Poised. Meticulous. Steadfast in her beliefs and calling in life. She was older. Wiser.
I suddenly realized that I was no longer looking at the baby Bre. The teenage Bre. The college-bound Bre. I was looking at the Bre that was going to make a huge difference in this world. The Bre that is going to write grant proposals and develop programs for underprivileged women and children. The Bre that volunteers to work with teens in trouble in our judicial system. The Bre that drinks coffee in the morning and doesn't care if she wears make-up to the store. The Bre that doesn't give a crap what clothing is in style and is happy to donate her gently used shirts and purses to Goodwill. "Proud" is a word that is so understated. Proud is the giant golf ball-sized lump that stays permanently in the back of your throat and threatens to open up the dam to your heart and drown your face in a tyranny of laughter and tears. But she frowns on that. No, Mother, I'm not doing anything that everyone else should be doing. Get over it.
As much as I am proud, I feel lost now. Selfish, I know, but nonetheless, lost. I came to find out that she travels everywhere. Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Washington, D.C. on "missions." Her teachers, peers, advisors have all claimed she is well beyond her years in intelligence and compassion. She has received letters of recommendation from our state senator and state representative. Yet when she found I had framed these and countless other letters, scholarship and Dean's List certificates, she didn't like the "attention." She wasn't in it for the attention. She was in it to make the voice in her heart "quiet down" a bit.
Many nights I came home and found a note that read, "Sorry, Mom, but I had to go to *location* and see *person.* I will try to be home tomorrow. I love you." But! We had plans! Choking back the tears I would get in the shower and try to find sleep that night, resisting the urge to call her or text her. The next day when she came in, she would put her keys on the counter and retreat to her room to find sleep for an hour. Before I knew it, she was answering her emails, texts and voicemails once again.
I know she is someone special. Now the world is finding out. I've never liked to share. Last week I was in the kitchen and I caught a blur of her out of the corner of my eye and I went to her, chased her down and grabbed her up in my arms. I had had enough. Holding her close, it was almost as if my mind began playing a movie of her from birth to present. I could not help it and my heart began to flow, drowning her shoulder in unashamed emotion. I felt her small arms encircle me tighter and her hand gently caress my back.
"Mommy? Are you okay?"
Hearing the word "Mommy" at this point only made it worse, but I managed to choke out the words, "Where has all the time gone, Beanie?"
"Oh, but Mom! That's not the right question!"
Putting me at arms length she looked intently into my face and that's when I saw them. Her eyes. SO FULL of promise and hope for her world. A deep conviction of what she believed in and a compassion that struck every fiber of my being...
"The question IS, what are we going to do with all the time we have left?? I'm sorry I haven't been around much. But you are RIGHT HERE (*tapping her heart*). I carry you with me everywhere I go."
Nodding, I managed a smile. Not a fake one, but one of realization. I understood. I understood that drive, that heart that believes in a better place and doesn't let the world get you down. I cupped her beautiful face in my hands and I said, "You are beautiful, baby girl."
Then she said, "You wanna go raid the buffet at Giovanni's like old times??"
Nodding emphatically I started to run to the bathroom to check my make-up and she exclaimed, "Who cares!! Let's go, I'm driving!"
Yes. I'm proud. But I still don't like to share. I still miss the "old" Bre. But something tells me "this one" is loved by many others as well. I'm just going to have to get used to it. I've got to swallow the golf ball. I've got to realize it's all going to be okay now. It's okay to...let go.
It's not about my "loss" anymore. It's about her and her beautiful life, a life she NEEDS to share with others so that they may have hope, promise. What more could a parent wish for? What more is there?
God bless. You are loved. By me...and all of the "Bres" in this world.