by Merlin Hernandez

It’s my daughter’s birthday today and almost two months since she went off to college. And all this time, I’ve been acting like I got this – more hoping that I will get it. But I gotta tell y’all…I don’t got this! I miss her crazy antics and her tuneless singing. I miss her constant inane questions and the socks on the floor. I miss yelling at her to get out of bed. I used to keep the door to her bedroom closed because that made up bed and all that neatness and order was just too surreal. Now I dump all the laundry on her bed and leave it for a week. It feels more normal.

Then she comes home for a much anticipated week-end and we’re sitting at the table sipping tea from the good china taken out to celebrate her first homecoming and we’re discussing … the best forms of combined contraception for her… Now don’t get me wrong, we have had the talk – you know, that abstract academic exercise about teenage pregnancy and STDs, but we all know that’s not really about our daughters. Well it’s different when they initiate it with all their matter-of-fact urbanity and analysis of options. And I am sitting there oh-so-cool-and-sophisticated while imagining someone’s recently departed son lying at my feet with an axe wound inflicted by some crazed woman. I mean, this is the baby, the one who still follows me around holding on to the tail of my shirt – yes she does!

And don’t tell me it’s good that she talks to me. The illogical, irrational part of my reptilian mama brain still does not want to hear it. So I am listening with what is an attempt at modern motherhood that no doubt paints my face in a fixed smirk that fails to disguise the creeping impotence that accompanies acknowledgement. This young woman sitting here before me is an adult. Deal with it.