Learning to Walk Again

When I come home, my daughter will run to the door and give me a big hug, and everything that’s happened that day just melts away.  Hugh Jackman


I just dropped Maggie off at her first day of high school. I already miss her.  That adorable way she rolls her eyes at me, interrupts me when I am writing, and makes me turn down my music in the car, “Mom, she says, you are going to blow the speakers!”

I can’t see the screen through my tears as I write this. I am both happy and sad.  It is the end of an era, the beginning of a new chapter. I can’t decide if I should crawl into bed or throw a party.  So I will write instead.

This day did not come to me as a surprise.  It’s been in the works for a long time.  Maggie was hell bent on getting into Orange County School of the Arts two years ago after a lifetime of homeschooling.  She began working on her portfolio; a short story, some poems and a novel.  We sat for hours editing her work, preparing for her audition and making up her transcripts.  I gave her all A’s.  We even moved into a cute little house 5 minutes from the school believing wholeheartedly that she would get in.  In April, her dream came true.  She was accepted into the Creative Writing Conservatory.

Once she got the news, Maggie went full speed ahead getting ready for today.  She spent hours on Pinterest looking for creative lunch ideas, cute outfits and desk designs.  She organized her room, made special compartments in her desk out of cereal boxes to hold all her school supplies, found the perfect lunchbox, planned out her new wardrobe and even decided to complete what I never did, her immunizations.  This is the day she had been waiting for and she was prepared.

But, I guess I wasn’t as prepared as she was.  And, boy did it come out yesterday while doing some last minute back to school shopping.  I had a meltdown.  At the time, I thought it was a combination of the heat, a crowded outside mall, my hormones and the fact that I had to pee really really bad and there wasn’t a bathroom in site.  But looking back, I realize it was more than that.  I was grieving.

I typically act like a grown up, but yesterday, not so much.  Once we got to the mall (I hate malls) I went off on a rant complaining about the parking structure’s poor design, the lack of bathrooms, and the horrible landscape planning, “Why are there not more trees at an outside mall?  I protested.  “Is there only one bathroom in this entire place for god sake?  And, WHERE THE HELL IS HOLLISTERS?  IS THERE NOT A MAP ON THE PREMISES?”

Maggie stayed beautifully calm.  She found the bathroom, Hollisters, and a chair for me so I could sit and pout while she tried on some jeans.  As I sat and watched an entire store full of young girls Maggie’s age, looking for that perfect outfit, excited for their first day of school, I knew I was being unreasonable.  I just couldn’t help myself.

Maggie found two pair of size zero jeans in the shade she wanted, not an easy feat for a girl with a tiny waist and extra long legs.  She was happy.  And, I was happy, because it meant we could go now.

When we finally found the Suburban in the maze they called a parking garage, I was hot, sweaty, hungry and totally exhausted.  It took everything I had to keep my tears back.  Buckled in and backing out, a small ray of light entered my world; one of my favorite songs came on, “Walk” by the Foo Fighters.  God, I love that song.  I play it every time I am feeling low.  It picks me up like no other.  As Dave sang his brilliant words, I began to slowly breathe again.

“I think I lost my way

Getting good at starting over

Every time that I return

I’m learning to walk again

I believe I’ve waited long enough

Where do I begin?


After the Foo Fighters, another one of my favorite songs came on, the Cake version of “I Will Survive.”


“At first I was afraid.

I was petrified.

I kept thinking I could never live

Without you by my side.

But then I spent so many nights

Just thinking how you’d done me wrong.

I grew strong.

I learned how to get along.”


Then, Incubus, “Dig,”

“We all have something that digs at us,

At least we dig each other

So when weakness turns my ego up

I know you’ll count on the me from yesterday

If I turn into another

Dig me up from under what is covering

The better part of me”


Turning up the volume, I sang along.  Maggie didn’t complain.  Not, one little bit.  Not even a roll of the eyes.  Nothing.  I realized then that she had intentionally chosen every one of my favorite songs for me.  I love that girl.  She saved me.  And, this is not the first time.

She is my saving Maggie Grace!

I looked over at her, smiled and said “Thank you!”

I knew then that everything was right with the world.  She is exactly where she is meant to be and so am I.

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