Even as we boarded the plane I couldn’t quite believe it was happening. We were bound for a West Coast visit, wedged tightly between a triumphant run of deadlines that brought new shades of silver to our hair and the start of school x3. My surprise to be truly on our way almost trumped my hysterical fear of flying. Almost.

The day before I’d spent the morning with the girls at the park. I stumbled about in a syrupy daze, torn between relief to have the summer nearly behind us and melancholy to have the surge of autumn and all the irreversible change it will bring upon us. I watched them hungrily.




Then it was past, a nearly imperceptible chime, an alarm. I tried to ignore it and stay frozen in their oblivion to everything but their now.

I hesitated.

Not yet.

I knew what I had to do and resented it. Time to leave the park, off to the next thing.

We arrived in Yakima safely, with everyone displaying equal amounts of need and independence. Trying to employ the breathing that is supposed to calm me in flight, I find myself confused about what exactly I am afraid of. More than 3,000 miles and we are at a playground again. Their delight just as potent.

They are deliberate.



I am happy, but it’s the kind of happy that makes me feel tired and weepy. I’ve come back to where I grew up and so much has changed. My reflection is not the same, the same is true of all that I love. The trees are more rooted and in some ways it seems as if their branches that brush me as I pass are like the Lost Boys.

You didn’t stay. They charge. You left.

And then there are my girls, clambering, screeching and frolicking beneath the limbs that protect them, shade that wasn’t there before now dances over their forms. I smile as I see them running in the faint hollows of the ruts Abbie and I made, paths we carved. They squeal in Papa’s lap, sit at Grandma’s feet for stories. The echos are sweet and I wouldn’t trade this time, but it makes the call of all that is out of my control that much louder.

First grade, Pre-K, Independent Learners. So many hours I won’t see, preparing them for all the avenues that will open to carry them wherever they choose. I can do this. They will soar.

And I will watch.

Hungrily. And I will worship.

And I will weep…