My baby is leaving town. After seven hardworking years in Brooklyn and Manhattan, our Frannie is moving west to Nashville, a city I have never been to nor have any knowledge of. I’m both thrilled for her, and a little sad.
But I want her to go. She needs to go; she needs to spread her wings and fly away and live her destiny. She’s leaving to join a man she loves, to live a decent life in a sane, non-Manhattan economy, and to bolster her music-production career. We will stay in touch through Facebook and instant messenger and phones calls and frequent trans-Appalachian visits, but it’s still hard to see her go. She’s my only child.
But she is fiercely independent, always has been, always on the move. On her first day of kindergarten, I was near tears putting her on the school bus I thought she was too little to take; but she raced up the steps then turned to me in a very businesslike way: “Go home now, Mom,” she told me sternly. She was, and still is, fearless. She began kicking, vigorously, inside me at just six months, trying to escape, until just days before her delivery, when she went ominously still and silent. I know now she was just plotting her exit. She waited until her official due date, and emerged into the world on a sweltering summer evening with a little outraged wail, and immediately began making little talking-type sounds, as if trying to explain herself. As if she had to.
When she was here last, we took a long ride in the country, in search of an apple farm and fresh cider. But during the drive, I told her the story I’d never really told her before, the long struggle with infertility, surgeries and drugs I took to bring her into the world. I described the little yellow-shingled doctor’s office and laboratory where she was conceived—I wish it had been the normal way, in a tumble of sheets and passion, but it certainly did not diminish the final result. And that tiny throbbing blip that appeared miraculously on my first ultrasound has grown to full maturity and is now about to fly off to Southern climes (drive off, actually—in my old Chevy). In telling her the story, I’m sure it emphasized how ardently we wanted her, how determined we were to bring her into the world. Nashville, you better appreciate her and treat her well!
So old mom will stay here in NJ with pop, and keep writing away and teaching foreigners proper English; and I must try to keep impertinent comments about marriage and future grandchildren to myself. But I’m already looking forward to a wintertime trip across the Continental Divide, a new city to explore and discover. You can certainly expect several reports from Nashville in the months to come…