I’m going away tomorrow to write. This used to be an occasion of huge trauma for my family. When the children were younger, they really minded my not being there. Despite the fact that my husband is a great dad, he is a dad … and your dad is not your mother. Now, they are older. On the ladder of life, they are one step (one huge step, it must be said) from being grown up. The last time I went away, one of my college-age daughters (whose room is right over my head) texted me, What time are you getting home? I texted back, Tuesday. She was aghast: What? Are you out of town? This is the way it should go and must go. The older they grow, the less aware of us they are, and, if things are proceeding smoothly, the less aware of them we should be. Friends much younger than I are counting down the days until the last one is out of high school, until the last one graduates college. Free, they say. Finally. And yes, that will be great, I guess. I’ll never have to go away to write again. The house will be quiet and clean. The washing machine won’t be running all the time; I won’t have to load the dishwasher twice a day. Free. I’ll be free. I’m just not quite sure how free I really want to be.

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