The little girl is off at sleepaway camp for ten days. It's the first time she's been away from us like this, for this long. Ten days of no "get out of bed", "eat your dinner", "brush your teeth", "read a book". Ten days of no snuggles and no Doctor Who marathons, no broad conversations at the breakfast table about religion and the cosmos, no cardboard boxes being cut up in the living room and reassembled into doll school classrooms and dormitories and furniture.
Instead, there's a trickle of random photos sent out by the camp, mostly out of focus.
|Why is the horse wearing a doily‽‽‽|
I, dutiful mother, have been sending mail, old-style mail with stamps. A postcard of NYC: "Wish you were here"! A photo of the cat sandwiched between the hamster cages. A quote from Maya Angelou: "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
She, my small person, she calls me Mommy or Mama or Mom. And yet, every single time I sign one of those little notes to her, I wonder what to write. Am I Mom? Should I sign it with "Mom"? Ten and a half years into being her mother, signing a postcard with "Mom" feels otherworldly, not right, not me.
I fudge. The "M" is legible, the rest could be anything. She can call me anything, but my name is still my name.