She’s not my little girl any more. Hasn’t been for, oh, 17 years or so. When they go to college, we know our relationship with our kids will change. As if we didn’t know that the minute they hit puberty. But as we age, we become more like good friends than parents and offspring, if we manage to navigate some rough waters. Any parent of adults does not need me to describe the trip through the rapids of our children’s early adulthood and how we can get tossed into the drink before we know it. Misunderstandings and unrealized expectations arise without warning. Eventually we accept the fact that we now ride in different vessels. We enjoy being together as adults whose ways of moving through this world had diverged. It is rewarding to reach this point, where we like being in each other’s company. For a limited period of time. And we return to our separate homes and different lifestyles. I don’t rescue my kids any more, and they don’t come running for help. They don’t rescue us, either, until we reach that stage we don’t want to talk about yet. My husband and I paid a visit to our daughter and her husband in Amherst, Massachusetts recently. They have a spacious house with a lovely wood stove, in a charming neighborhood. We have several other family members and friends we can visit while we are in New England. We love to do day trips to see historical sites. This time we achieved a nice balance of time with them and time away. My daughter and I love to hike together. The Holyoke mountain range has numerous trails to easy summits, with spectacular views. So at least few hours have to be reserved for that during each visit. We throw on our gear, apply sunscreen and bug spray, and drive to a nearby trailhead. I wrote the following poem after hiking both Bear Mountain and Mt. Norwottuck this time. Massachusetts, 5-14-22 We climb your mountains aiming for summit but content to share the effort, spending our breath on conversation, willing to pause and breathe together the air of companionship. You lead me now. I carried you, then led you too, sometimes on rocky climbs that rewarded you with a vista of new ideas, hard-won confidence. You have other companions now as you should, but today we have these gifts of time and invitation, shared discovery. I find myself happy to let you lead. I will have one more lesson to teach you if we are given the chance. One more hike into the country of light. If we are together then you will see, but if not, I will wait for you there, when we will breathe together the air of Love.