Twice a week, I work late and return after Pumpkinpie is in bed. Those mornings, I drop her off with her usual "Have a fun day!" and a hug if I can snatch one before she darts into the room, and dont' see her again until the next morning, when she calls from her bed or clambers into mine to lie beside me and share my pillow for a few moments.
So why is it that this morning, knowing I would not see her until tomorrow morning, I felt a tug, a reluctance to walk away from her and go to work? It shouldn't be any different, but it is. Because tonight, I know that when I return home late, she will not be tucked safely up in her own bed, Misterpie on watch and doggy under her arm.
Instead, she will be in another house, some twenty minutes drive or more away from my own bed, not just down the hall, shouting distance. Instead, tonight, she will be in the care of her grandparents, having her first sleepover away from us both. We have packed many of the comforts and familiar things of her room - her purple pillow, her old nightlight, her potty, her doggy - as well as stories and pajamas and her preferred weekend toothbrush. I trust her grandparents completely or this wouldn't be happening. We are one phone call away, even though we are going on a date (!) tonight, for Misterpie will leave his cell phone on. I have packed her health card, doctor and vaccine information in her overnight bag. It is not a long drive. But still, it is different.
I know that this is a step many people take earlier, something that is routine by now. I know that it is time and is even an exciting adventure for her. I know that we need to start this, do it a few times over the summer, get her used to it, especially in advance of the couple of nights she will have to spend there when The Bun arrives. I know that it will be good for Misterpie and I to get a few nights together before that same big change. I know she is big and confident enough to handle it, especially with my preplanning and packing prowess on her side. I know it will be okay, more than okay, even a special treat for her.
But still, it was different. How hard to walk away as she sat in the sun, knowing that her shining golden head would not be just down the hall, should I need to go in and give it a kiss, should she need me. See you tomorrow, my girl. My big, growing up, moving away a bit at a time girl.