When Baby Girl got married a few weeks ago, we had lived through the stress of COVID-19 quarantine and postponement of the original ceremony. I was so happy for her that day – and just so relieved we’d gotten through it.
But, with all the emotions we’d experienced, it didn’t hit me at the time that my Baby Girl isn’t my baby girl anymore. Her father had died when she was 2 and it had always been the two of us against the world. But, now, my big-hearted, opinionated, irrepressible, funny, smart, hard-working little girl has a husband. A husband, y’all! It boggled my mind and made me feel a bit … bereft.
Then, while driving home at sunset last weekend, I was thinking of a tradition we had when Baby Girl was little. As I looked out at the boldly colored Alabama sky, I was soon lost in memories. The tradition began one night when Baby Girl was 8. We had turned off the highway and headed toward home when I spotted the most beautiful neon peach sun. I pointed across a field. “Look how pretty,” I said.
“Wow,” she said in an awed voice. Then, “Can we take a picture of it?”
Suddenly, I was caught by one of those mom urges that pushed laundry and groceries and homework out of my head in favor of savoring the possibilities, of living, right then, in the moment.
“OK,” I said, smiling. “But it will be gone soon.” We stopped quickly at the house so she could run inside and get the pink-and-purple Barbie camera she’d received recently for her birthday.
While she went inside, I fast-forwarded the cassette tape in my car. We’d been listening to Elton John and I knew a song that would make the perfect soundtrack to our excursion: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
Baby Girl climbed back into the car and I pushed “play.” Then the chase was on. Click here to read the full column on SouthernThing.com.