I heard the bedroom door click open quietly, and soft little feet padded their way to my bedside. I opened one of my eyes a sliver to see who it was, even though I already knew just by the rhythm of her breath. Sammy said, "Mama, can I nuggle with you?" "Sure, baby, climb in."
Her sweet smelling head of silky blond curls spread across the pillow as she tucked her body in against mine and laid her arm across my neck to pull me tight. This little girl of mine. A significant portion of my heart and soul resides wherever she is. I don't quite feel whole unless her soft warm body is pressed against mine. I kiss her forehead, her cheeks, her little button nose that's starting to show freckles, her closed eyelids. "You're my favorite Mama" she purrs. "You're so special to me Sammy -- I love you with my whole heart" is my reply.
My heart breaks a little bit with the thought that this is the last snuggle of the summer. She starts kindergarten tomorrow. Every single day. My Sammy will be away from me every single day. I hardly know what to do with myself at the thought of it. I'm sad and will miss her. I'm nervous for her. I'm overjoyed and excited for her and this new adventure. I'm proud of her and the little lady she is.
But she's not only growing up. She's growing away....away from me like she should. Like she must, I suppose. God has plans for her that are bigger than snuggling with her Mama every day. Sigh.
I'm not the only one who's feeling the strain. Samantha announced yesterday that she was done with grownups and that she was running away.
"Oh, Sammy, I'm so sad to hear that. Why do you want to get away from grownups all of a sudden?"
"Because they keep making me do things I don't want to do!"
"Like go to kindergarten when I just feel too shy to go!"
"Ahhh, I see. Well, what are you going to pack?"
"Well, I'll need some duct tape to trap kidnappers. And I'll need a big pan from the kitchen so I can roast up animals for food. And my money. And the new dress Daddy bought me. And a tent or something to keep birds from pooping on me. Will you help me find my Tinkerbell backpack?"
She was busy all morning packing her "runaway bags", while I made homemade pancakes for her breakfast and poured myself some coffee.
I can hear her thinking out loud about what she needs. She has her backpack, red purse, and purple bag all packed and ready to go. I looked up from the kitchen as she said "Okay, everyone! It's time to come say goodbye!" She had taken it upon herself to get dressed, but on her shoes, and take a potty break before the big moment.
Then, in a whisper, with the straps of her runaway bags cris-crossing her chest...."Mommy, I'm going out the front and will you come with me?"
So we head out the front door and down the sidewalk as she tells me all about the injustices that grownups have burdened her little life with.
"Well, first of all, they make me do things I'm afraid to do. AND they make all sorts of rules and laws. AND they don't let me have dessert enough. AND they make me go to bed way to early. Mama, I'm a little worried about running away."
"Yeah, I'm a little worried too. I'm really going to miss you and I hate the idea of you being out there all alone. Why are you worried?"
"I'm worried because these bags are really heavy. And what if the police see me out here walking around without a grown-up? They'll want to talk to me and I can't run away from them with these heavy bags!"
"The police are good and safe, right? They help you. You don't have to run away from them."
"Yeah, I guess. And Mama -- do you think you have enough pictures of me to remember me really well? I don't think I have any pictures of my family with me."
"It should be easy to remember me, Sammy. Do you know why?"
"Well, because you have my heart with you. I know this because my heart hurts a little bit every time I'm away from you. I figure it must be because you have a little piece of my heart with you."
"Hmmm. Mommy....these bags are REALLY heavy. Do you think you could carry one?"
"Wait, you're running away and I'm supposed to carry the bags?!"
"You ARE the grown-up, Mama", with a sweet tinkling giggle.
"Okay, but I'll only carry them home. Are you ready to go back home?"
"Yeah. It's hot out here. And I don't have a tent so the birds could poop on me any time!"
She breaks into a skip as she heads back home, her ponytail bobbing behind her. Oh, little girl, I adore you.
Our leaving the nest adventure is done for today, but tomorrow is another story. She'll wear her special dress that Daddy bought for her. We'll do her hair in "a pretty or beautiful way because I'm sick of CUTE!" And I'll walk her into her classroom. And I'll leave her there. I'll leave. her. there.
I'll do what I need to do. I'll be the joyful and excited and encouraging Mommy who "can't WAIT to hear about all of your big-girl adventures in kindergarten!" I'll buy the special first-day-of-school ice cream cone. But me and this heart of mine....I'm not sure that we're going to make it.