I visited northern California last month for a refueling four days with my two best friends. I met Lindsay when we were 11. We were barefoot in bikinis and our dads’ jobs had brought both of us to suburban Atlanta. Neither of us liked it there and we liked each other a whole lot. She stepped on a giant frog moments after our introduction and we squealed and laughed and that pretty much set the tone for the next 25 years.
I met Paige in my college dorm bathroom when I dyed my hair red. We held hands through our freshman year, drinking too much beer, thinking too much about boys and not enough about school. In a tower of young women vying for sorority placement, we connected over environmental activism, a love of art and desire to travel. Turns out two fish out of water learn to breathe together.
Some of my daughters’ friends will be lifelong friends. They will remember things shared and lost. They will remember firsts and finals. They will grow up and move away. They will save airline miles to travel to their childhood friends’ homes.
But, first, now, they are small and mighty children whose only thoughts on the future involve dangly earrings and ability to bike to the creek without grown ups.
Margot finished kindergarten a few weeks ago. It feels altogether soft and right that we will have a first grader. And it feels altogether impossible. Wasn’t my girl with four giant teeth, a gusto for monkey bars and a constellation of nose freckles learning to sign for milk just a bit ago?
Yes, she was. And now she is this person who walks in her own direction with sparkly band aids on both knees, my blood traveling her veins.
Ruby is done with her first year of preschool. I want to chew on the last bits of her mispronounced words. I say yes to uppey! even when I don’t want to carry my non-baby baby.
Do you still a’member when I was in your belly mama? she asks with her palm flat on my sternum.
And I kicked a lot? And when I was born you didn’t know my name for a long time? And Margot called me sister born? A’member that?
If I could preserve one thing from their childhood forever it would be how they frog their legs up and around my middle. Margot promised me she will do it until she is 19.
We are in the thick of summer hosting around here, our seventh houseguest in three weeks arriving tonight. We love company and feel lucky to live in a place our beloveds visit and pass through on their way to elsewhere. And somewhere in between and around changing sheets and making large dinners and squeezing my work into small corners of the day, I am leaning into summer with my daughters. The freedom of nothing and everything to do.