Launch a child. Abby is out the door. It will be a month before I fly down to visit her and that is the longest I’ve been away from this child, ever, by at least two weeks. Because she is six years younger than Dan she was “the only child” on the tail end rather than up front. Because he was high maintenance between worries about his congenital heart defect and his highly sensitive and reactive temperament, Abby was on auto-raise for the first number of years. There was also a divorce plugged in there that blew Dan away but she seemed to sail right through. She was the one who could go missing and when I caught my breath and looked around and wondered, “Where’s that girl?” she would be buck naked, tummy down on the bucket swings, across the street in the park. Or camped out on the roof of the garage with all of her prize belongings. Very high up in the spruce tree. And always, if a body of water was to be found, she found it- from puddle to pool to lake to ocean- and there she would be.
Dan left for college at 18 but he only went a mile away and he returned from the dorm relentlessly most nights at dinnertime. After he was semi-gone, Abby and I started to travel together. We’ve always gone to water. On Nevis we could lean over the porch rail of the volcano side bungalow and watch the eagle rays drift in glorious formation far below. On the Inside Passage she paddled furiously towards the one and a half ton sea lions while I back peddled our kayak as fast as possible. In Costa Rica she swam away from me to find her place with the sea.
night. Quiet. Reflective. Eager.