Daughter: I can’t believe that I’m going to graduate high school in only seventy-one days.
InternalMe: WHAT?! WHERE DID THE TIME GO? I’VE LOOKED FORWARD TO THESE YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP AND SHOPPING AND HUGS AND COFFEE AND SHARED INTERESTS AND TV TOGETHER. HAS IT BEEN FOUR YEARS ALREADY?!
Daughter: Yeah, I can’t wait. I mean, I kind of don’t want to graduate but then this big part of me cannot wait until I’m done. But you know, I will miss it.
Me: It’s going by too fast. I’m not ready for this.
InternalMe: NOOOO! I WAS JUST BRAIDING YOUR HAIR AND IRONING YOUR SCHOOL UNIFORMS FOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL LAST WEEK. I HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO SHARE ALL OF THIS AMAZING MATERNAL ADVICE THAT I HAD PLANNED TO GIVE YOU. I NEED MORE TIME. STOP IT! STOP GROWING SO FAST. WHY IS TIME MY ENEMY? WHERE DID THE YEARS GO? I DON’T WANT YOU TO LEAVE ME!
Daughter: I’m not sure I’m ready for this, either. I mean, I am but I’m not. But I get excited thinking about college and stuff. Are you…Mom? Why are you crying?
Me: I don’t feel like I’ve had you all to myself long enough. I’m not ready to share you with the world yet.
InternalMe: WHO’S GOING TO LAUGH WITH ME AND MAKE “MEAN GIRLS” MOVIE REFERENCES AND ACTUALLY ENJOY SHOPPING WITH ME? YOU’RE LEAVING ME WITH A HOUSE FULL OF BOYS AND YOUR SISTER WHO HATES SHOPPING, COFFEE, LOUD NOISES, AND JOKES. YOU’RE MY MINI-ME AND I NEED YOU HERE WITH ME. DON’T LEAVE ME!
Daughter: Aww, Mommy! I’m not leaving you. I’m just going to college and I decided to go to the one that’s only twenty minutes away. I’ll still be living at home. We’ll still hang out and stuff. I love you. I’m not leaving you.
Me: I know it. But I can’t talk about it without turning into a walking Kleenex commercial anymore. It’s like I blinked and you grew up without asking me for my permission first.
InternalMe: YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING, INTELLIGENT, WELL-ROUNDED, BEAUTIFUL, FUNNY, TALENTED, EXQUISITE THING THAT I HAVE EVER HAD A PART OF MAKING AND I AM IN AWE OF YOU. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW BLESSED I AM TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN TO BE YOUR MOTHER. CLEARLY, ALLAH SEES SOMETHING TRULY SPECIAL IN ME TO HAVE ENTRUSTED YOU TO MY CARE.
Daughter: Do you want me to stop talking about graduation?
Me: Yes, please. Just for a few days until I can let my feelings catch up to the reality of it all.
InternalMe: YES, YOU UNGRATEFUL CHILD! QUIT GROWING UP AND LET ME BE SELFISH JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER SO THAT I CAN FEEL THAT YOU STILL NEED ME.
Daughter: I’ll always need you, Mom.
Me: Quit reading my mind. Let’s go shopping.