"I look up to
Everything you are
In my eyes, you do know wrong
And I believe in you
Although you never asked me to
I will remember you
And what life put you through."
Josh Groban—"You're Still You"

The Final Goodbye

I know I'm far from being a perfect person. I'm twenty-eight and raising a twelve-year-old daughter. My mother was twenty-one when she had me. I got married in high school to a man I divorced five years later. Everyone warned me that it was the wrong thing to do, but like always, I didn't listen. I was Rumiko Hata, young, brash, beautiful. Nothing bad could ever happen to me.

I was a teenager. I was a stupid teenager.

The older sister to one of my daughter's best friends is fifteen—the same age I was when I made that mistake of getting married. One of my daughter's friends is fourteen, one year away from the age where I made that mistake. But you know what? I don't regret that mistake at all.

Unlike most divorcees, I kept my husband's name after we separated. I couldn't imagine raising Rika Hata when I gave birth to Rika Nonaka. And she's grown up to be more than I ever wanted for her.

I don't know. I guess a part of me always wanted to go shopping around and buying the cutest dresses for my baby girl. But I never had the money when I first got married. But after a modeling career and decent pay, I could afford to buy the pretty things for Rika. It was just my luck that she had grown into her tomboy/punk rock stage. It meant a lot to me when she wore that dress to say goodbye to me before going to the Digital World. And she knew it too. I could see it when she struggled with the embarrassment of wearing lace, flowers, and ribbons.

I hear stories all the time about my daughter. Rika is known throughout Shinjuku as the Digimon Queen, the best female card player in Japan and the only one that has ever come close to defeating the King, Ryo Akiyama. Or at least she was until I convinced her to teach me to play. Ryo wanted to test my skills, and I ended up flat-out beating him. Their friends Kazu and Kenta stood in absolute shock, their jaws dropped, while other friends Takato, Henry, and Jeri blinked in surprise. I didn't see Rika's expression, but I heard it in her voice when Ryo complimented me for being the first to beat him. Both he and Henry said, "Your mom is pretty cool." "Yeah, I guess she is," she answered with awe and respect. Nothing—not even the time with the dress—has ever meant more to me in my life. Whenever anyone recognizes me as her mother and asks how it is to raise one of the strongest Digimon Tamers and the female champion of the Digimon card game, I always answer that it's a pleasure. It's just the same as any other family. We just have to set another place at the dinner table for Renamon.

Rika's just the same as any other girl. She goes to school, bored out of her mind while she stares at the back of her classmate Chisa Yomoda's head. She walks home everyday—Renamon does not digivolve and give her a ride. When she comes home, she curses her homework and changes out of her "stupid" uniform and into jeans and a T-shirt. Our house is a former temple, so she likes to visit the Zen garden when she needs to think. It used to be that she would get in a fight to clear her head, but with the lull in Digimon emergences thanks to Mr. Yamaki and Hypnos, she has to find other ways of getting that time to herself. I think some of Renamon's spirituality has rubbed off on her in that way, making her appreciate the quiet more.

And it's no secret that being a Tamer has changed her a lot. She has more sympathy for other people than she used to, and she's a lot more aware of the environment. It's not that the Digital World turned her into a strict environmentalist, but she does recognize and understand the limitations of the world. She recycles more than she used to, and she waits to find a garbage can rather than throw even a piece of fruit on the ground. She's even taken up a little poetry, surprisingly. It's all haiku, but it's something I wouldn't have expected from her before. She explained that she and Renamon as Sakuyamon used haiku chants for their spells, so she was working out new ones to see what effects would be produced. Even though it still revolves around fighting, it's a part of Rika I never dreamed of seeing, even when I had those dreams of her future when she was born. It's only now I realize just how many times I had to say goodbye to Rika. The first time was on her first day of kindergarten. She was cautious around the kids and even then not very social. I then had to say goodbye to her sweetness when I started dating again and she began to question if love was real. I began to say goodbye to her hardened personality when she accepted Renamon's partnership, and a goodbye to her as she left for the Digital World. I said goodbye again when she went off to fight in the D-Reaper, wearing the shirt I bought her and carrying my hopes and prayers. The final goodbye was her final battle against the D-Reaper, a battle that I think changed everyone forever. I guess you could say it killed us so that we could be reborn, made us say goodbye so that we could finally say hello.

So goodbye to all the Rikas past. Goodbye to all the mistakes she made. Goodbye to the Rumikos past. Goodbye to the mistakes I made. We have survived them all, and we'll survive the new ones that come. It's time to say goodbye to the past and hello to the future.

Goodbye…

Goodbye…

Goodbye…

Hello.

Well, here it is for Mother's Day: another introspect with gasp Rumiko as a good mother. Who'd believe it?

Okay, the thing about her having Rika at fifteen—Japanese version, she was seventeen, but with Rika at 12 where Ruki was 10 without adjusting Rumiko's age, that lowers her age when she got pregnant. Not like teen pregnancy is a huge scandal like it was in our parents' days…

Chisa Yomoda is a character from Serial Experiments Lain. The girl who sits in front of Rika in class looks a lot like Chisa, in my opinion, so I recycled the name. After all, the characters Julie and Jeri Katou mean anything? (both were named Juri Katou. Long live Konaka)

And as for the Josh Groban quote—yes, it's a love song, but that's the only quote I found that fit. I don't really listen to Josh Groban music, but my mom does, so this goes out to her. Hey, it's Mother's Day, I gotta be nice.

Anyway, I shouldn't have to tell you to read my review rules, but after the idiocy that came with "Southern Cross Diaries," I have to be repetitive: read the rules before posting. Do not give me drivel like "great story." Do not ask when I update this or anything else. The rest of the rules are still at the top of my profile for a reason and won't be going anywhere. That is all. Till the next.