I remember looking at my computer screen, the letter from Berkeley announcing my acceptance, glaring at me in black and white.
We are pleased to inform you.
“Aren’t you happy?!” Other Mom said, shaking my shoulders. “Get excited!”
Another memory: Eighth grade graduation, crying my eyes out, thinking of saying goodbye to a temporary boyfriend, of never seeing childhood friends again.
“Don’t you have any smiles?” It was Other Mom again. “This is a happy day. Can you dry your tears?”
Today, that same feeling.
What should have brought joy, ushered in anxiety instead.
“Be happy,” James said. “This is what we’ve worked for these last two years.”
Instead, tears spilled over.
I am not the person who looks forward, anticipating what I will gain.
Always, always, I am tenderly holding on to what I’m afraid to lose.