I just peeked in on her. From a mound of blankets, I see a pile of red hair that covers everything. I am serious, we find long red hair on everything in this house! In an hour or so, we will head out to college orientation, but for a few more minutes she is my little girl, snuggled in her bed breathing softly, the last bit of her dreams unfolding before she wakes.
I am thinking about the first day of school. She is wearing little pink shorts and a strip mint green top. She has a tiny pink backpack and carries her brand new my little kitty lunch box. As she bounces out to the car, red curls fly in every direction. It is impossible to tame that mop.
As we drive to school, she stares out the window with her lips rubbing together. She is scared. New situations make her anxious. Her face is very serious and she listens intently as I tell her of all the fun she’ll have and the new friends she’ll make. Tan freckles sprinkle across her nose and her lips are turned down in a serious frown. “What if I don’t like it?” she says. “Can I come home?”
I want to tell her that her education is far more important than who she befriends, but I don’t, we both know that is not true. Besides, she’s only a baby.
Last night, as she washes a load of clothes and makes herself supper, I look up from my computer and ask her if she’s excited.
“Yes, but mostly nervous. You know how I am.” she says quietly.
“Yes I know how you are, you’ll be fine.” I answer. I want to add, “You know your education is far more important than who you roommate is.” But I don’t say it, we already both know that is not true.
Her nose, still covered with freckles wrinkles up and the things she thinks are kept tucked away but I can read her thoughts. She wonders is she going to like it because she really does not want to come home.
And I know she will be fine, this little artist child of mine. As she turns to walk to her room, balancing her plate of food with a glass of tea in her hands I see a little girl with red bouncy curls. She hears and sees the world in her own way. She doesn’t yet understand how to manage her life because she really is just a baby.