The text reads “Red One!” or perhaps “Tan One” or “White One” or “Yellow One”… and I laugh out loud when I receive it.
The text refers to the color of a VW Bug K has seen. For years, we have played “punch buggy” although “plain old buggy” would be more accurate since no actual punching is allowed – too dangerous for the driver.
If we were keeping a cumulative score, K would be way ahead. I use the excuse that I’m keeping my eyes on the road, safety first and all that, but truth be told, K’s simply better at the game. As K approaches 14, I’m just glad we still play. A car ride that’s about to be spoiled by a homework, dirty room, or all-around bad day conversation, can be saved by the sight of a VW Bug. It’s sure to elicit a “Red (or whatever) One!” from one of us and the tension breaks. To get a text from K when she sees a Bug with someone else is true delight. As K pulls away, a simple thing like this brings her back for a little while.
Because we’ve reached the point where instead of “Mom, please stay just a little longer?” it’s “Mom, you don’t need to walk me up to bed tonight.”
Instead of “Mom, one more page, please?” it’s “Mom, we don’t need to read together, I’ll just listen to music before bed.”
I know it’s her job to become more independent and it’s my job to let her go. And I realize I’ve had bed time and story time rituals much longer than most. So I respect a closed door but eagerly accept invitations to enter. I learn more than I can imagine about Comic Con, and anime, and stupid, I mean funny, animal videos on YouTube. It’s different than when we learned together about the brachiosaurus and other dinosaurs, memorized the names of all the trains from Thomas the Tank Engine, and found out all that Bob the Builder could build. This is K letting me in on something she’s discovered on her own and I’m amazed by what she knows.
So I’m grateful for what K continues to share and grateful to the young girl who was her mother first, a girl of 16 who gave all those story times and bedtimes to me. I’m shocked to realize that girl is a grown woman of 30 now. I wonder what her life has become and hope it is a good one. I hope that she is at peace with the choice she made when she was so young, not much older than my K is now. I hope when she is ready, she contacts us again to see the wonderful person her daughter has become.
For now, we move forward. K and I act out our parts – she pulls away and I let her go. She runs back and I pull her back in. Sometimes we stumble and sometimes the choreography is just right. And through it all, we keep an eye out for Volkswagens.