Mom, I forgot my life jacket.
I know you were probably waving it out the door, calling after me in my haste to leave.
I’m sorry. I probably ignored you.
Now I’m up to my neck in my own troubles, adrift in a life I thought I could control.
Remember it raining when I was three? I held out my hands to catch the raindrops, only to watch them slip through my fingers. My tears soon followed.
That was the day you took a red bucket and scooped up the rain. You gave it to me and told me not to spill it.
But of course I did.
When I was five and fell off my bicycle, I thought the world was going to end.
But that was when I was five and Band-Aids and kisses could make everything better.
The world never ended of course. It just kept going.
Remember when I was eight and you tried to explain the multiplication table to me? You said it was easy.
Well, I didn’t know it then but things do multiply easily. They tend to get out of control.
But Mom, I’ve never forgotten that five times six equals thirty. And as I’m quietly repeating those lessons to myself, I’m thanking God that you are never more than a phone number away.
How can I forget twelve? I thought I was so grown up then. You always seemed so quick to tell me otherwise. I suppose, now, that you were right. Thanks for always cleaning up my messes anyway.
Skip a few years and I’m fifteen. That was when I thought a kiss would make everything better. So I followed what I thought was love. And still it was you who were always ready to patch a wounded heart.
But now I’m eighteen.
I’m trying to navigate things by myself now. And I keep knocking over that red bucket as I try to get away from the messes I’ve left behind so that the floor is flooded with more than my tears and I feel like I’m drowning.
And I’m thinking about that life jacket.
I’m wondering now if I should pick up the phone and tell you this myself.
But if I do I’ll probably just say everything is fine and that will be that.
So I’m writing this instead.
See Mom, what I’m trying to say is this:
Because now I’m trying to catch the sunlight.
I’m bottling up the smiles and love you’ve always had for me.
Your little girl