After dinner, I suggest walking to the post office with the mail that needs to go out.
My 15-year-olds says hopefully, Drive?
I’d rather not. I rather walk by the food pantry and admire their stunning flower garden before this season’s blossoms fade, but I say sure. For a few more months, she can’t drive without me.
There’s hardly anyone out this evening, as she drives to the post office, then up to the high school where she parks, and we laugh, and we walk around the building. The school’s been closed for months now. Weeds from the front flowerbed spread across the cement walkway.
There’s no one around. A heron wings across the sky.
At the parking lot’s exit, she brakes and asks me, Which way?
You’re driving, I answer.
She turns away from home.
As she drives, I think of that old cliché, that having small children brings you into the hear-and-now. Same for the pandemic, I suppose. She circles through town and stops at the community gardens, where I get out and admire the raised beds.
Each of these days is a kind of bouquet — filled with work and exhaustion, with garden picking and wood stacking, with my daughter’s wondering, Will soccer really begin this Monday?, with our little family, sometimes getting along, sometimes out of sorts, but always pulling together in one way or another.
As she drives, I think of history and all the hard, hard times people have endured. The future lies before us, a great unknown, and yet, each day, this daughter edges one day closer to her own womanhood.
She pulled over to the side of the road, parks, and get out. Look at the sky, she says. She snaps a photo, making a memory of these days.