The Final Mile

One of my favorite things about being a grown up is the wisdom. I finally have some! Or maybe it’s just insight.

One thing I know about myself: I have a tendency to fall apart just as I’m approaching the end of a particularly harrowing time. I hold it together beautifully for so long, but when we approach, say, the 95-percent-of-the-way there line: breakdown.

First such remembered incident: My parents, who raised three daughters and never got away from us for long, felt they had an opportunity. When I was nine, my two older sisters were in sleep-away camp. I was attending Shibley Day Camp, as was my cousin. My parents planned a two-week vacation to Portugal, leaving me in the care of my Aunt Marlene.

I never handled separation from my mother well. But I was heroic for one week and six days. The night before they were returning, I lost it in the most epic way imaginable. I was lost in a solid night of howling, way beyond a place where I could accept my aunt’s offered comfort.

“But you made it all this time!” she kept repeating. “You’ve been so good.”

It’s that last bit that kills me. It started then. It continues now.

Now, when we’re THIS CLOSE to baseball.

I’m not sure I’m going to make it.


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