Once upon a time there were days I would mentally countdown to Michelle turning 21. I really can’t believe I just typed that, true as it is, because it sounds so wrong, so evil, so unloving. But, there it is–like this time in Chicago–Michelle was a countdown. One day she would be grown and not something I would worry over or be responsible for in any way.

Now, she’s 21 and I want another chance at 11, at 12, at 13, at 14, at 15, at 16, at 17, at 18. I want more time with 19 and 20 Michelle.

Even as I say I want those younger years (even the rough ones) back, I know more about love because of her.

I know the countdown to 21 was a myth because I didn’t just share a home with her and love her mom. I became a mommy to her. Mommies don’t stop worrying at 21. They don’t stop loving at 21.

So, here is the big day and she is just over 1000 miles away and all I want to do is be there with her–at least long enough to hug her, to admire her fashion picks, to tell her to be careful, to give her some very Tarrant gift before she celebrates her entrance to legal adulthood with her friends.

Though still tiny enough I could pick her up easily if she let me–she’s a grown-up, a hard worker, making good choices, crusading for those less fortunate, and everything I ever dreamed of in a daughter and more.

I love you Michelle. The one thing you did truly steal was my heart.

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