I dropped her off two weeks ago yesterday. She left the next morning with her aunt and uncle and cousins. They were heading west to meet my parents at the halfway point between their house and ours. That’s not a quick road trip when you live in Texas. They all had lunch together and stretched their legs and made their goodbyes. She and one of her cousins climbed into the backseat of their grandparents’ car and continued their journey west. My sister and her family turned around for the five hour drive back home.
Two weeks without a teenager in the house sounds like bliss during the Summer when you have four others living with you, too. It’s not. I am happy that she got to bond with her grandparents. I am grateful that they took them to see such awesome and amazing natural sites of New Mexico and Arizona. I am elated that my niece and daughter have had time together, away from their siblings and parents, to build that strong friendship and trust that cousins should have. But the hole in my heart while she has been away has been difficult to deal with.
I love all of my nearly grown and grown children. Each one has their own section in my heart. I enjoyed spending time with my boys this Summer. I learned that a lot of our conversations are interrupted by my daughters. With only one daughter, the one who is usually blamed for these interruptions, I realized that it’s not only she who breaks into these moments with the boys. I need to work on that.
I realized that my two girls, who fight daily because they share a bedroom, love each other to pieces and actually miss one another. Randa slept in Samiya’s bed the first five days she was gone, just to feel close to her. She had nightmares the last few days. She kept getting out of bed, panicked, shouting, “Get in the car, Mommy! It’s Samiya, trapped in a cave. It’s save Samiya. Bring her home NOW!” (She had seen the photos of Samiya and her cousin in Carlsbad Caverns from the second leg of their trip.) Anxiety and Autism has a way of altering perspectives sometimes. It took a lot of consoling and coaxing to convince her that Samiya was safe and back at Granddad’s house and that she would be home in just a few days.
Her brothers have missed her, too, although mostly as it relates to the frequency of their turns to wash dishes. Ismail mentioned to me that he had been texting her throughout the two weeks. Aiman had been talking to people they regularly game with online and talked to me excitedly about how Samiya had been promoted to a higher level on their team. Mohamed talked with her, too, a few times by phone while she was gone.
But the person who has missed her most is her father. He kept asking during the whole two weeks, “It’s long enough, right?” and when I told him that my sister planned to stay the night out there and come back Sunday, I could see his face fall just a little. Then he said, “We should celebrate her coming back. I’ll bring home chickens and you grill them on Sunday. It will be a welcome home party.” Daddy’s little girl personified.
Today, Randa will be pacing back and forth to the front door to check for her aunt and uncle’s car. They drove out through the desert again to pick the girls up from Dad’s house. And I will be washing and cooking and prepping for her return, trying to keep busy so I don’t jump out of my skin with excitement. I missed my girl.