Lauren left here this morning, with all her things loaded in her car, ready to move to Seattle in a couple of weeks. I think it caught us all by surprise when we realized that she was leaving Taos for good this time. She's come and gone so much the last few years, with college and her stint in Denver, we sort of forgot that she was actually prepping to make a big move this trip. When she took down the dusty wooden "Lauren's Room" sign that swung above her door for the last eight years, it got real for me. I don't need to tell you, this mommy cried, more than a little bit.
You'd think I'd be used to it by now. All my kids, but especially Lauren, have left me plenty of times. I remember the first time Lauren "let me go". She was seven years old, and I was dropping her off at school in Seattle. Normally, she would hop out of the car, and skip through the school yard, and up to the door, turning every few steps to wave and blow kisses. I'd watch her until she was inside, waving and blowing kisses back. But on this particular day, she hopped out of the car, spotted a friend, and darted away, forgetting about me completely. I sat there stunned, and just barely made it back home before I fell apart, sobbing to Rick. It was awful. I was in a poetry writing phase back then, and somewhere there's a poem called, "She Let Me Go Today"...
Now at least I know she'll keep coming back. With our many ups and downs as a mother/daughter team, nothing has ever gone so terribly wrong that she's left me for good. We bicker. A lot. But we also talk on the phone almost every day. And even though I'm still sitting here feeling a little weepy, I'm so happy for her, and so proud of her. Seattle will be a great place for her again, and not too scary, because her brother is there too, and will in fact, be her roommate. Now we just need to get Julia back to the North West, and everyone will be centrally located again, where we can easily reach each other, but will still have some space. Taos wasn't a mistake, but it's not where we all need to settle, if settling is possible for a family like us.
As Lauren pulled out of the driveway today, waving and blowing kisses, Rick and Julia and I all waved and blew kisses back, and nobody will forget anybody this time. We know that much now.