My daughter is in Fort Myers for the rest of the week. It's the first time she's been away from me for more than two days and as far away as a six-hour drive. My aunt and I decided to meet halfway in Orlando so that neither of us would be stuck with the twelve hour round-trip.
During our drive from Jacksonville to Orlando this past Saturday, Elle reminded me that she had written the family a letter. Before we left the house, all of us were given strict instructions not to open it until she was long gone. I promised her that we would wait until dinner. But in the car she felt she needed to explain one part of the letter.
Elle: "I don't want Uncle and Papa in my room playing with my dolls!" *
Me: "I don't want Uncle and Papa in your room playing with your dolls either."
Elle: "Well, I'll tell you a little bit about my letter. Nana's in charge of everyone. Except for you, Mommy. You don't do anything wrong."
Me: "Thank you, dear."
The kid-exchange went rather smoothly considering I was a total trainwreck on the inside. It was all I could do to keep from flooding the city of Orlando with my anxiety-ridden tears when Elle rolled down the window to blow me a kiss and remind me to "Have fun, Mommy!"
After bawling my eyes out through downtown Orlando traffic (note to self: don't drive I-4 ever again if it can be avoided) and having a delicious mexican lunch (made by real mexicans) with my good childhood friend named Fuz (who is neither fuzzy nor mexican), I made it home. Childless. It's an odd feeling.
But...aha! She wrote us a letter!
Dear, Papa, nana, uncle and mom.
I am gonna miss yall. and I (heart) yall wen I come back. I will tell yall about My Adventures an trips. an papa an uncle. Nana will be in charge of everything exept mom. cause she does anything wrong.
I'm fixin' to teach her t'add the apostrophay to yall since she likes to use it so dern much. Phew...I sure do miss that kid, even though she insists I'll do anything wrong. Good thing she explained it all to me in the car first...y'know, so my feelin's an' such woon't be hurtin' an' all.
* My brother and father don't play with Elle's dolls. It's an inside joke. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's an inside joke. *