The Long Goodbye


“Mommy?” she asks, taking my hand as we walk our afternoon ritual to the pool. “When people go to college, do they take their stuff with them when they go?”


“Yes” I say. “They do.” She stops in the middle of the street.


“Everything? Even their beds? Even their toys and their clothes?”


“Yes, sweetheart, everything. Now, keep walking. Don’t stop in the middle of the street.” I pull her along as I always do, trying not to rush her out of her thoughts, which frustrates her beyond measure.


“Well I don’t want to do that when I go to college,” she says, slowing down, hopping on one foot. I let go of her hand and let her hop. She’s happy when she hops.


“I’m guessing you may very well want to when you get to be that age.” I reply. She stops hopping, runs to my side and buries her face in my belly after poking it with her index finger a few times.


“No mama. I never want to leave. I always want to be with you. Always. I love you toooooo much. I could never leave you. Never.” She unwraps herself from my body and opens the pool gate. She runs for the water and I watch as she leaps.

7 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. vicki

    oh, the tug at the heart, huh? it’s all too much sometimes, thinking about them leaving us. beautifully written, Kay. miss you!

    April 20th, 2011

  2. Yeah. I’m on a jag with this very subject. I have a year left until my first is, for all intents, out the door.

    I remember feeling this way, vowing I’d never leave my mother. I went to college out of state, and started summer term two weeks after I graduated high school. We all grow up. She will too, but this part is fun.

    weeping now.


    April 20th, 2011

  3. Jill

    When Katie was little she’d say, “Mommy I want to always live with you.” Then it was, “I want to live next door to you when I grow up.” Then on to, “I wouldn’t want to leave the state of Alaska.” Next, I want to go to school on the West Coast for college. Right now she says the East Coast looks really exciting, and, oh yeah, she’s headed for NEPAL this summer. Breathe her in Kay. There’s nothing like that love she has for you right now. The good news is she’ll love you from wherever she is forever. What a wonderful mama you are.

    April 20th, 2011

  4. Bob

    This is so endearing. Kay, your writing is so raw and naked. I love the moment of pure expression followed by … well, life.

    Peak moments happen so quickly and you capture yours so nicely for the rest of us.

    April 20th, 2011

  5. These moments are so precious.

    I always seem to get a lump in my heart when I read your stories. I have a daughter also so I can relate to so much of what you write about.

    I find myself thinking about your work long after I have read it. Please don’t ever stop.

    April 21st, 2011

  6. Maryann Davis

    My 11 year old daughter still says she doesn’t ever want to leave me. She tells me she will be there with me when I die, holding my hand, because she loves me so much. I breathe it all in. And when my 15 year old son asks me to hang out and watch Dr. Who at 10:00 at night when I am exhausted, you bet I do. With a lump in my throat, I laugh at every joke and listen to every detail of how to take an airsoft gun apart and put it back together again. For soon, they will both fly away. Love you Kay.

    April 21st, 2011

  7. Your Mamacita

    Such tenderness…..and such thoughtfulness on your part. God bless you both as you experience her everyday. You are a wonderful Mom.

    April 27th, 2011

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