The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


No Goodbye

My daughter and her friend took off early Wednesday morning for L.A. without saying goodbye. In their haste to hit the rain-slicked streets before rush hour, they just forgot. I am stunned.

“I can’t believe you left without saying goodbye!” I want to berate her via cell. But then I imagine her swerving into the guardrail at 70 miles per hour as she digs the phone out of her purse. Not only will it be my fault that she’s gone, but my last memory will be tainted by anger, hurt and guilt. Maybe I’ll just sit tight.

Uptight is more like it. Whenever one of my daughters is on the road, I never completely relax, but this is worse. I crave face-to-face, skin-to-skin contact as much as any newborn. Without eye contact, without that hug goodbye, I feel undone. I could let her go more easily with a goodbye embrace to brace me for the reality that her life is completely out of my control.

I think of the movie, Dead Man Walking, which made a huge impression on me. But it isn’t the astonishing performances by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon I remember. Instead, it’s the mother of the murdered girl recalling how their last conversation was about how her daughter scotch-taped her ripped hem before she left for school because there wasn’t time to mend it. If she had only known she’d never see her again alive, the mother lamented, she would have said something less trivial.

How many times does the press of morning heat tempers beyond boiling? The mother and daughter in Dead Man Walking didn’t even part on bad terms, just banality. After seeing this movie, I made sure never to pick a fight with my daughters before school. Each morning I’d pack them off with a nutritious lunch and a feeling of unhurried love. Just in case anything should happen.

My daughter calls as they are pulling up to her friend’s house to let me know they have gotten to L.A. safely.

“You didn’t say goodbye!” Now that she’s cut the engine, I can’t help myself.

“I called it out. You were in the bathroom. Sorry.”

We chat about the drive, her plans to cruise Melrose Avenue for celebrities, the news from home, including her grandmother’s best friend dying of cancer sooner than expected, before we had a chance to visit.

“That’s so sad,” she sighs.

Later in the week she calls and leaves a cheery message on the answering machine. I’m glad she’s having a good time. I’m having a good time, too, as I walk the dog, go to work, make dinner. Nobody would know that I am still holding my breath. I barely know it myself.

But I can’t erase her message. Not until I see her again, hug her hello and hear all about L.A. When she’s safely back, the hole left when she didn’t say goodbye will be mended. We’ll be able to forge memories that don’t leave a bad taste, just in case.

Then I can erase her message.

By Lorrie Goldin


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