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[child] She comes home tomorrow, musings on parenting and mortality

[info]the_child comes home tomorrow on the evening train from Seattle. [info]lillypond, a/k/a my sister, is picking her up at the train station at the same time I’m picking [info]seanan_mcguire up at the airport, then we’re all meeting for dinner, along with [info]mlerules, Team E— and [info]kenscholes (assuming he’s over his case of the screaming crud by then). Which will be an apropos welcome home for her, as the last time I saw my kid was when I took her to the George R.R. Martin party in Seattle two weeks ago.

This summer she has flown to California by herself. She is training back from Seattle tomorrow by herself. She has spent time with her grandmother learning to use the Portland area bus and light rail system, and is now allowed to make trips around town by herself. She is also seriously talking about what kind of job she wants next summer, when she’s fifteen and a half. One of the current favorites of hers is working in the office of our family attorneys (with whom she is friends) because, “Lawyers know how to get people to tell them things, and I’d like to learn that.”

I think my little kid is growing up.

Every step closer to adulthood, to maturity, is one less brick on my chest over the cancer. Perhaps my greatest fear is dying while she’s still in childhood. It is a terrible thing to lose a parent at any age, but that is the way of the world. (Consider the alternative, that the parent loses their child.) Losing a parent before you’ve really gotten a solid start on finding yourself is much, much harder.

As it happens, there has been a recent cancer death in Mother of the Child’s extended family, which has me pondering once again parenthood and illness. And of course, the leading echoes of what is to come for me on these next tests, as always. To see [info]the_child being a little more mature, increasingly self-reliant, and better directed… those are a comfort and a blessing. They are to every parent, I know, but it all has a special meaning to me.

Love that kid.

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