This Mother’s Day I dragged two big plastic totes out of my closet. They held photographs, tangible proof of the last eighteen years that I have been a mother. The other proof is in my mind, so when I close my eyes, the memories come flooding back. They are memories of countless trips to the park and the grocery store, where we would hold on tight to each other’s hands so that no one got lost. If I concentrate I can still hear their high pitched voices as they ask endless questions about everything. This Mother’s Day my girls and I went to the mall. We didn’t hold hands and at one point we split up because we wanted to go to different stores. Then we went to the movies. My daughters told me to go get us seats while they bought the tickets and popcorn. As I sat between them, my eighteen and fourteen year old, I felt that I must be the luckiest person alive. Life just didn’t get any better. But then my younger one reached out to hold my hand. After a while I reached out to hold my older one’s hand. We watched the movie like that and I realized that nothing had changed even though everything was different. My girls are all grown up and independent. As they discover their world, I stand on the sidelines watching them make important decisions on their own. When I look at old photographs, I see birthdays and recitals and trips all documented to preserve the important memories. But I know that the most precious ones will live in my mind forever. All I have to do is close my eyes.