Her palm-sized mary janes pump back and forth, each leg secured in a square hole, holding on to the bar, examining me carefully.  

I smile behind my mask and wave. Then I lose the thread. Her tenuous attention shifts. 

I’m alone in the checkout, suddenly mourning my daughter’s toddlerhood. Hard, long hours. Battles of wills. Tears, hers and mine.

But I miss holding her close, her head on my shoulder, whispering in my ear.

With piercing clarity, I realize she’s growing away from me. Exactly as it should be.

But I ache with longing to be everything to her again.

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