Something about companionship.

I’m going to write this free-form and fairly quickly, because I have for days now worked a little at a time, writing and erasing, editing and refining what I intended to offer as the last entry in this 56-day lark. I’ve written and re-written and it’s still utterly dull and now quite overworked.

This morning, in a dark hotel room (I’ll get to that) as I slipped on shoes to make my way quietly out the door and down to the lobby for coffee, I made the mistake of catching up on local Memphis news (I will not get to that, and if you don’t live in Memphis, you’ll just have to accept the vague reference). I rode down the elevator with the noise of sorrow and anguish in my head. I sent a text to my son, another to a friend.

The hotel lobby was quiet; it’s still early here. A handful of people were scattered about, all of them nose to screen. Nighthawks.

I got coffee, headed back up to the room where my daughter was still sound asleep.

We are on a college tour trip together, just the two of us. It’s the first time we have spent time together in this way. The official purpose of the trip is to visit schools (and no, I won’t be more specific, because that is her private business, not mine). The unofficial purpose is to begin getting to know one another in a new way. The packed itinerary includes people and places that are part of my life from before I was her mother, when my life was just my own.

It’s the beginning of her write-your-own-story adventure, the life that will be hers. In that life, my only wish is that she will have the great fortune to build a soft and tangled mass of relationships that will expand and hold true over time. The name of the institution, the specifics on the diploma will matter, of course; that is the cold reality of the situation. But the people will matter more.

As has been popular to write, we are wired for connection, we humans. That need has become acutely, glaringly apparent during the past 18 months of isolation. We’ve had to work at preserving and nurturing the ties that make us feel whole, the people who, in turn, let us know we are nurtured, supported, challenged, loved, respected.

That’s what clicked as I rode back up the elevator, coffee in hand. I knew how to wrap up this series, even if I would do it quickly, clumsily (and likely with typos).

For me, that support comes from places near and far, familiar and new. It comes from real faces and people, hands I can hold, people I can hug. It comes from people I am only starting to know. And it has come from you, reading along for 56 days of lovely companionship.

Thank you.

May loving arms hold and support all who grieve today.

This post is 56/56 in a self-directed challenge to write (or at least post) something (SOMETHING) every day – a birthday gift to me from me, because writing gives me a place to put the clutter that lives in my head.


  1. Thank you for this 56-day gift of your beautiful thoughts, especially today’s post. I did the same thing as you after seeing the news – called my son. ❤️

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  2. Jennifer, thank you so much for your daily posts. I have read and reread them. You are a gifted writer, able to say difficult things in a clear way. I appreciate that. Those college tours are so special. I did them with my son, now 52, but I still remember being in Monterey in a restaurant honoring John Steinbeck. My memories of that are still so clear and joyous. Yours will be too. Have a wonderful time together.

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  3. I’ve so enjoyed all 56 entries and am sad to see them end – although I trust there will be plenty more…just not hitting my inbox on as regular a schedule as these! Thank you for your beautiful words! And prayers that we will hold those we cherish a bit tighter today and special prayers for those who cannot.

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  4. Thank you Jennifer! What a gift you have given all of us with your daily writings. They have been inspirational and funny and they have spoken to my head and my heart. Enjoy this year with your girl. It goes so fast.

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