Williamstown, nestled in the Berkshires.
Yesterday I cancelled everything and drove up to Williamstown, Massachusetts, to see my 20-year-old daughter, Annie, who has been weathering a very busy semester at Williams College. We both felt the need to just breathe the same air for a day. Her grandmother, my mother-in-law, died just before Easter and we feel stunned and overwhelmed.
We sat together in the student center writing, I an article that was due, and she a rewrite of an essay for Russian history class. I talked with two of her good friends, met a few others, and hiked with Annie in the mist up behind the Clark Art Institute to see this view.
She admits that she is rebelling against me by refusing to wear hiking shoes for the short walk. Her suede moccasins get soaked, but she looks snappy. I tell her about my desire to never wear high heels but rather to wear hiking boots, in rebellion against my own mother.
The years since Annie left for college seem like a blink of the eye for me. But these two years represent a significant period of time for Annie. She has grown up a great deal in less than two years. I still feel like a kid, but only inside. I know that I have much to say to Annie, but especially, I have the ability, as her mother, to just be a lump of rock for her. Annie, in turn, knows me very well. She gives me work advice (do work that feels natural) and home advice (pay attention to the dog, which symbolizes so much).