Got Out the Door

Leslie Kleinberg Zacks
4 min readNov 29, 2022

(Photo is property of author)

Leaving is the hardest part.

It’s been three years since I flew internationally and I have completely lost my blasé approach to criss-crossing timezones. I used to be a serious wanderer, but these past few years have zapped the energy for travel right out of me. Even as I write this, my first installment of #LeslieandCarrieclimbamountain I’m not sure how I got myself into this. Yet here I am in one of four airports I will travel through in the next 24 hours.

This morning, as I tried to wrap my head around the journey ahead, I lingered over breakfast with my teen daughter. She was the only one eating.

“What?” She was immediately suspicious of my presence at the table as I normally leave her to fend for herself.

“You’re a good kid you know that?” It was a complement, but it made me sound needy. Which I was. This kid doesn’t need my complements, and this one left her utterly unmoved.



“Stop being weird”


“Yes you are. You’re freaking out a little. Everything’s fine.”


I sat there silently slurping my coffee and continued to take in my daughter’s profile. She chewed her toaster waffle uncomfortably like someone wanting to wrap up her meal and scoot while also giving me some side eye.

“It’s just that-“ I started, reaching for her arm and wanting her to lift some of the anxiety off of me.

“Mom I know. You love me. I’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. Stop being weird.” She got up and cleared her dishes leaving me alone at the table. Before I had time to get misty-eyed she turned to tell me that she didn’t have time to unload the dishwasher before school and could I please do it as a favor before I leave. For Africa.

Well played, little girl. Well. Played.

It was an expert move on her part, and I didn’t feel like I had time either, but I agreed on the off-chance that in doing so, she’d let me hug her as long as I wanted to before she walked out the door. She’s not a hugger, but she knew I’d earned it, so she stood there and while I squeezed the breath out of her and she…

Leslie Kleinberg Zacks

Writing about whatever I feel like. Mom with a career. Filled with love and rage. It’s cool- I’m not for everyone. twitter @lesliezacks