There is a woman sitting behind my wife and me as we pull into the driveway of our home. She has a job, her own car. Is headed off to college in the fall. Just the other day she sat in our mini-van munching on a Happy Meal and dumping her Hi-C on the floor.
Not anymore. She's a woman now.
I pause at the garage door and switch the headlights off. I press the opener, and the door rises like a curtain on opening night. When my wife, Tracy, asks, "What are we waiting for?" I tell her, "Just look at that garage. Have you ever seen a nicer garage?"
"Um, sure. No. Whatever. What are you talking about?"
"I swept the floor and mopped yesterday."
From the back seat my daughter deadpans, "Nice. Can we pull inside the nice clean garage now?"
We do. Like every other day, our hands are full. Book bags, grocery sacks, mail and dinner - McDonald's again - are balanced carefully as we labor to get in the house. Abby sets her drink - no longer a 12 ounce Hi-C, but a 32 ounce Dr. Pepper - on the frost covered roof of the car and reaches in to retrieve the suit she just bought for the scholarship banquet she'll be attending next week.
The soda slides, slowly at first, then picking up steam it careens off the car and explodes on my clean floor. Mother and daughter glance at one another, and then at me. I smirk; they giggle. Soon we're belly laughing at my obsessive need to keep a garage floor clean and the obvisous silliness of it all.
And yet, hidden in my laughter is a tear, knowing that my daughter has nearly completed her journey from Abby to Abigail.