The letters on the side of my husband’s Brown University duffel say “Brown Bears,” which is funny to my eight-year old daughter, who is using it for her first overnight camping trip – it is a foreshadow of things to come, but not yet….not yet.
Two years ago I was carrying her as we left her brother at the drop point, and she was singing and giggling and swinging her legs as we walked; I was still her favorite person.
Last year I carried her backpack for her because she was nearly crushed under it’s weight – still too young for the overnight trip where they roast marshmallows and ride horses and sit around a campfire and she cried, even as I knew had she gone I would have received a tearful midnight phone call.
This year her face is serious and excited and determined and beautiful as she drags her bag to the back of the bus along with the other overnighters – I am worried that she will be the only one who brought All the Things, until a little boy shouts, “this is heavy ’cause my roller skates!!!”
She gave me a preoccupied hug and a kiss twenty minutes ago, and told me she didn’t need me to carry anything and she let go of my hand.
She doesn’t notice me as I hurry back to my car because I have something in my eye; doesn’t know that I carry her still.