Just a typical night at our house.
I settle into a long-awaited moment of quiet.
Finally, it’s the end of the day.
Time for pajamas, a good book, a television show,
a quiet conversation with my husband.
Then the door bursts open.
Giggling girls bust into the room.
Hi Mrs. Turner!
The cupboards fly open.
The ice machine roars.
The snacks come out.
It is girl time.
On the night before high school graduation,
it’s different, more somber.
A sudden downpour soaked their pretty party dresses
and their perfectly straightened hair is dripping wet.
“We’re here to help Annie pack for college!” Zoe says.
High school senior one day,
college freshman the next.
This is the Turner way.
I expect a long night of Facebook stalking,
and countless graduation ceremony outfits
organized on the bedroom floor
with piles of accessories strewn around empty suitcases.
The noise settles and I look over to see Annie and Zoe hugging.
“Don’t start that already,” Chloe says.
“I can’t help it,” Zoe says with reddened eyes.
My daughter Sara smiles and says, “Oh no, here we go.”
Three years ago Sara and her friends played out this exact scene
before Sara left the day after graduation for summer term at BYU.
The girls stampede upstairs and all we hear are roars of laughter
Interrupted by fits of giggling.
The garage door flies open and another friend has arrived.
“They’re upstairs,” I say.
Sara shakes her head.
“Trust me this is just a repeat of how it was when you were in high school,” I tell her.
Somehow it seems like a lifetime ago for her.
After about an hour of listening to drawers open and close,
I check in on their progress.
Rows of color coordinated tee-shirts are neatly rolled up in the bottom of one suit case.
Stacks of preppy-looking outfits stacked on the floor.
There’s even a graduation ceremony ensemble pulled together
with a coral dress, a white J.Crew cardigan, and a funky belt and shoes to go with it.
Tissues are scattered across the carpet
and the girls have all changed from their wet dresses
into Annie’s shorts and t-shirts.
I try to assure them that they’ll always be friends.
I tell them about my high school friends
and how we still try to see each other at least annually.
That sounds horrifying to them
when they’ve been spending every day together
for four years or more.
They continue to pack, giggle, and cry as I crawl into bed.
I will miss those girls and their giggles.
When the house is quiet, the girls are gone
and the giggles don’t charge the air with their energy and happiness,
I will look at the garage door
and wonder when it’s going to fly open again
with one more friend.
I don’t think it will be just the girls needing the tissues today…