When Sadie was 7 years old she went through a sleep walking phase. Two AM would roll around and there would come Sadie, looking like Chewbacca, strolling past our doorway, undecided and forceful in her footsteps, as if she had a place to go. Always moving, Sadie. When it came time for swim meets Sadie would lose hours of sleep. She'd spend days asking questions like, "If I sink to the bottom and I'm in the middle of the race, will someone save me?" and "What if I come in last?" Always the planner, ready for the next firestorm, big brave eyes, Sadie. The day I asked her if she wanted to try an overnight camp in the woods in Maine, she was pretty sure that would be ok. She nonchalantly said yes and then asked for a ride to Annie's. I enrolled her in 10 days in nature without any ability to reach us and nothing was mentioned until the night beforehand when she cried so hysterically in the driveway that I thought maybe someone could die of fear. But she got in the car the next day, travelled with me to the Campsite and waved as I left her behind, with strangers, to come back to Gloucester and move away to begin divorcing her father.
Sadie came home from camp and did a lot of wilderness time after that. Sometimes I would not be able to find her and her cell phone would be left behind and she would be on a journey somewhere in the woods, in her head, working something out.
It took Sadie a long time to figure high school out and then all of the sudden she did. I found myself no longer the consoler. No longer the advisor. She was navigating life like she put together 1000 piece puzzles, with care and determination and self sufficiency.
Now she's learning to drive and we find ourselves on car rides where I feel free to listen to music and I imagine her less and less the little paper carrier, the little side kick who always accompanied me around town. Sadie has become more of a peer, a friend. As she learns to take a left hand turn in on coming traffic and to make friends she really clicks with, and to feel disappointment, loss and betrayal and still get up in the morning and do it again, I hope she remembers me. I hope she hears me cheering for her like a recording of a soccer game from the 3rd grade, or maybe last year. I hope she gets the big tips and the cars slow down for her and the weather is always dry and 70 degrees.