My youngest started kindergarten one week ago yesterday. She stood at the bus stop with her older brother and sister and her radiant smile. With her pink plaid backpack she resembled a little turtle with an oversized tortoise shell balanced on her back. She turned to wave goodbye, too independent for a reluctant hug, stepped onto the bus, and was gone. Those steps were so symbolic, such a metaphor, they need no explanation. A part of me broke watching her go. And a part of me felt such gratitude and happiness.
Some children are slow to change and others always seem to be two steps ahead of us. That is my youngest. She seems to know what she wants and is always ready for it, way before I am. I am often breathless, running along behind her, trying very hard to keep up. She races towards the next phase of her life eager, and willing, with open arms and an equally open acceptance. I am usually not ready to let go, and mask it to mirror her enthusiasm.
I left her and walked through the front door greeted by her bag of stuff animals thoughtlessly left on her way out the door. I suddenly realized that just the day before we grabbed her bag of little friends and went off to visit to my Aunt and run errands after saying goodbye to her brother and sister. She was no longer my little sidekick. It seems everywhere I go I see mothers with little girls and sometimes another trotting along beside them. I am wistful for those days. And hope I appreciated them enough. It is a beautiful thing to watch a child grow, to watch them bloom and open like a flower raising their faces towards the sun. Raising children is a tremendous gift and honor. And when it is time for them to take another step, it is time, whether I am ready or not.
Motherhood has markers like a waterline or a growth chart with each inch that is gained. Some are quiet – a hand that always took yours is now self conscious in front of friends. And others, so loud, that we have no choice but to realize our children are growing.
The principle at my old elementary school used to read Erma Bombeck’s poem Children Are Like Kites at the kindergarten orientation. For those of you who don’t know this poem, I leave you with this. No one could say it better than Erma.
Children Are Like Kites
You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground.
You run with them until you are both breathless.
They crash. They hit the rooftop.
You patch and comfort, adjust and teach.
You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that
someday, they will fly.
Finally, they are airborne;
They need more string and you keep letting it out;
But with each twist of the ball of twine,
There is a sadness that goes with joy.
The kite becomes more distant and you know it won’t be long before that
beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together and
will soar, free and alone.
Only then do you know that you did your job.
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Category: Random and Fun