Giggling Girls

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.

 

I’m impressed.

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…

Comments

  1. Keri Hatch says:

    This is very well written and true to life. I don’t like to let my kids go and even though my youngest graduated 3 years ago (with Sara!) I still hate a quiet house!!

  2. Cynthia Hall-Tipping says:

    Beautifully expressed Laurie.

  3. Profound, as always. 🙂

  4. Sara Peterson says:

    If only a mother could realize that
    the crying babies
    hungry toddlers
    obstinate middle-schoolers
    argumentative teenagers
    will be gone forever in almost a blink of the eye, and she will be left with a totally orderly home, folded laundry, and more time for herself than she really wants….

  5. Denise Ables Belyavsky says:

    Oh Laurie, thanks so much for putting your thoughts down for all of us to enjoy with you. I loved reading about Zoe and Annie at this bittersweet moment. We couldn’t ask for a better friend for Zoe or a better family to welcome her into their home. She misses Annie so much. Hope the delivery to college is going well. Zoe already has care package items stacked on the kitchen table in preparation for a mailing to Annie very soon. xo

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