Guess what, Mama?
she asks me just moments
before midnight. 50 days until
graduation, she beams.
Her eyes are light and
she tells me she’s ready.
50 days?
The words echo in my ears and
I pause to find words I’ve never
known until now. My voice is silent.
Words remain in my heart unspoken.
I am growing alongside her
in this moment, inexperienced,
I am only almost-18 as a mother —
pardon me for being startled.
I won’t know how I will feel
until her name is called
and she walks across that stage,
stepping away from childhood
and into full adulthood.
We’ve talked of this
countless times, of the loved ones
cheering her on
to this momentous point.
I hear the clock downstairs
ticking and reminding me
of the sifting time before
us — intangible —
and it all seems right.
I tell her of my fears of
becoming a mother 18 years
ago and how I hoped
I might be a loving and
gracious mother, how
I prayed I’d know how to
raise her well. It’s that same
sort of feeling now, but now —
I fully know this
sweet child of mine,
her hopes and fears, this
beaming light I’m sending
out into the world,
her boundless joy and delight in living,
her zest for loving others —
all this will return to her tenfold.
50 days? I ask. She nods, grinning.
Let’s make a paper chain tomorrow
and we can count down together, I say.