Last week, I was driving the 11-year-old to what felt like her 500th dance class of the day while simultaneously leaving a voicemail for a friend.
Because I'm awesomely multi-talented like that.
"Hey it's me. Freaking phone tag. Call me."
Short and sweet.
From the backseat.
I hear the 11-year-old start cracking up.
"Phone tag! Omigod did you REALLY just say PHONE TAG?!?!"
"Yeah, so?" I tilt the rearview mirror so I can get a better look at the amusement on my kid's face, because I have exactly zero clue as to what she is finding so funny.
Only I can't see her face because she's got her phone in her hand and she's looking down. At what I can only guess. A group chat about Dance Moms? Somebody's throwback on Instagram? Batdad's latest masterpiece on vine?
"Ugh, Mom! Phone tag is, like, totally something OLD people say."
My first thought: Is she serious right now?
And then realizing she is, my second: It's starting.
We arrive at the studio a few seconds later and my daughter grabs her dance bag and phone and hops out of the car, all long hair and tan legs and glittery braces where her cute rounded features, haphazard tendrils and missing teeth used to be.
"See ya!" She slams the door shut and I watch her walk away, remembering with a pang how she used to ask us to play "Tag, hear it!" instead of "Tag, you're it" when she was a little girl because that's what she thought it was called.
I smile at the memory while melancholy rides shotgun, then I put the car into drive and look up to see the 11-year-old turn and run back to the car.
"Mommy, waaaittt!!" She opens the door and hops back inside, then looks at me expectantly before reaching over to hand me a rubberband.
"Hey, can you put my hair up?"
You're it again.
At least for one more day.