"Are you crying?" asks my songbird.
She leans in my bedroom doorway wrapped in a bath towel. Damp and pale and shining, she has just emerged from what she would call an "epical" (epic + magical) shower, where she's been singing for 45 minutes.
"No," I reply. "Not crying. I just...you sound beautiful. How blessed am I? My whole life, I get to be your mom, and I get to hear you sing. Wherever and whenever. In the shows you're in, in the shower, in the car, on vacation. I am so blessed that I get a lifetime of listening to your voice. I feel so lucky. Very grateful."
She smiles an unexpectedly shy and proud smile, looking younger than her almost-twelve years. For a second I see her first-grade self, loving me back without the poker face of the day.
"Thank you," she says, simply, without a trace of irony. This is music, too.
A friend asked me today: "She's almost 12?"
"For three years, she's been almost 12," I told him.
He nodded. "The key is this: take nothing personally. She'll come back around again someday."
"I want to believe that. She's mostly on the dark side of the moon now, and I'm ground control, holding my breath that she'll get back safe and sound."
"She will," he said.
"Oh, God," I said. "I hope."
I am not generally a fan of hope.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
I may get lucky with her, after all.
(Thanks to Emily Dickinson)