After brunch, muffins abandoned on the table of the rental house, we spill into the back yard. The lawn slopes away to the water, bright on this cool summer morning. We are celebrating graduation. In the long grass, we watch baby Helena cavort, unself-conscious, no longer shy, once Cordelia, who has babysat for her all year, scooped her up and cooed to her. My tall, elegant, sophisticated college graduate is besotted with this baby.
“Cordelia go kaboom, kaboom,” Helena squeals, knocking Cordelia over. Each time, my daughter falls to the ground and hugs Helena to her. Helena strokes Cordelia’s long dark hair and then her own, corn silk against Cordelia’s shoulder. Their hug is fierce. Two and twenty-two: they love each other. Helena is too little to understand that this is end of a chapter. Cordelia is leaving Maine this afternoon, her future tilting away from this Eden. Helena escapes, squeals, wriggles when Cordelia catches her to put her sunhat on once again. Chortling, Helena drops her tiny plush duck, and Cordelia retrieves it over and over.
Commencement means beginning, but this is an ending, too, a farewell. This last play date. This final morning. A hard goodbye. Forget-me-nots grow wild along the edge of the yard, tiny blue flowers winking at me, exhorting me to remember this delicious, hard-to-bear moment of my own child growing up.
Ann Klotz is the mother of two grown daughters out in the world and one son still at home plus a rescue menagerie. She’s the Head of Laurel School in Shaker Heights, where she follows the lives and learning of many more children! She is proud to have pieces appear in Mothers Always Write and in other publications as well. For a full list of publications, you can visit her blog: www.annvklotz.com or follow her on Twitter @AnnKlotz