Just like that.

A small, rapid knock on the bedroom door.
"You awake?"

Muffled answer. Awake. Sure. Of course we're awake. Why wouldn't we be awake at three o'clock in the morning? Isn't everyone? (groan) "Yeah."

"Good! We gotta go!" (Oh lord. She's so awake. Ugh.) I don't know if she went to bed at all or if she was too keyed up and just used the time to pack.

Someone in my life - I don't remember who it was - used to say to me, "You're such a soldier." The person meant that I seemed brave. That I was stalwart in spite of difficulties. I may have been. I don't remember. Our daughter is. Our daughter is a soldier.

But she wasn't being brave this morning. (I was.) You have to perceive a problem for bravery to be needed. She was just being her own self. Ready to go. Packed. Only, this is a new self, too. The kind of keyed up she was when she left here - ten minutes ago - in the dark - before dawn - it wasn't nervous or jittery. (I am, a bit.) Her nervous, jittery energy - a kind of anxiety, I think - it was often under her surfaces before, and now it has ebbed away from her. She has become a steady person. Calm. Way, way too awake at this hour, but calm under the energetic competence and pulsing motion. (Me too. Under my tears and occasional involuntary sob, I find calm.) Sounds too much a cliche to be true, but she's become not merely "strong;" now she's "Army strong." (I'm not.)

She rested while she was home. I might be able to rest before she comes home again, I suppose. No. I take that back. I will be able to.

This is just like when she was a baby. I couldn't fall asleep if I couldn't hear her breathing. She breathes her own life now. I've heard her. I will be able to sleep. Be safe, girl. Do good work. We miss you every day. We love you. You're such a soldier.


Dogwood Diarist said...

Stephanie, you are strong and brave. I wish you peace of mind while your daughter is away. When does she return?

Stephanie said...

Thanks, Eva. She comes home in July. I'm thinking of it as a 50th birthday present. :-)