You may have noticed this in yourself, too…that sometimes emotions come out in unusual ways.

Steve and I had just started out on the two hour drive to visit some friends in Mendocino on Sunday. Jennifer Lynn, 15, had stayed overnight at a friend’s house and her sister picked her up after we had already left for our outing. So before we lost cell phone reception, I thought I would give her a call to ask her if she and her friend had gotten any sleep or if they stayed up till dawn watching “Arrested Development” on Netflix.

Jennifer and I chatted for a few minutes and then I told her that when we got to our friends’ house in Elk, I would call her and give her their landline phone number. Jennifer responded with a puzzled sounding “Ok.”

She was probably wondering what this was all about given that I have generally ignored her and she had fended for herself for most of the summer. My typical comment to her was along the lines of “You can figure out something on your own for dinner tonight, right?” Or “Have fun at ‘fill in the blank’s house.’ I’ll pick you up before Labor Day.”

So now why was I acting all over-protective? Like I needed to make sure she wasn’t missing me too much and that she was able to get her own snack of Goldfish and turn the TV on all by herself.

Steve had to remind me, she’s in high school for goodness sake!

It turns out, that it was really just me experiencing some separation anxiety. I wanted to be able to stay connected to Jennifer because it meant I didn’t have to say goodbye to summer and some really nice times we have shared as a family.

I felt a little twinge in my stomach every time I remembered that Valerie was leaving on Wednesday to drive to Orange for her second year of college. And even though saying goodbye this year is easier than last, it’s still hard to see her go. I’ll really miss the six pairs of shoes she always left for me to trip on at the bottom of the stairs.

But it’s time for her to go back to the life she is building away from us. And in the meantime, Jennifer will probably forgive me if I get a little weird and want to tuck her in at night.