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Children Are Like Kites

May 23, 2014

Written by Marykate OMalley, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne PA

I was inspired by our dear reader Krista to repost this! Thank you for your comments! Wishing all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!! And to those of you with graduations…. Children Are Like Kites.


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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  1. Anne Schenendorf

      on September 15, 2012 10:17 pm

    Oh, Amanda Rose!!!! I’m so proud! It is such a gift these babies of ours. I love and appreciate the sage advice. At almost two, I will savor they every moment. :)


  2. Marykate Wurster

      on September 16, 2012 7:22 am

    I know you do Anne! XXOO


  3. Krista Johnson

      on May 23, 2014 12:31 pm

    I just attended my last son’s preschool graduation ( I have 5 children). They used this exact poem. The told us to read later when we wee alone, but I did not listen. Needless to say they nailed it and i was in tears as if he was leaving me forever. She could not have said it better. So I sent to my wok collegues today to share and had them in tears on a conference call they were supposed to be speaking. They were unable due to the streaming tears, thank you for sharing absolutely loved it! I will value every second with them, no matter how many kids it is happy and sad just the same <3


  4. Marykate

      on May 23, 2014 1:51 pm

    Krista – thank you so so much for your comments! And I hear you – there is something about the youngest and last that feels so final. And even though you always have them it’s almost like yes but the baby is gone, the toddler, the preschooler is gone. You can relish the present and still long for those days. I loved the preschool years – maybe my favorite and still feel wistful for them! Your comment inspired me to repost this! It is preschool graduation time! Thank you so so much and I am so glad that Erma touched you as much as me!


  5. Wendy Hearn

      on May 24, 2014 8:56 am

    so, so beautifully said — couldn’t be more true!


  6. Marykate

      on May 24, 2014 9:12 am

    Thank you thank you Wendy!!! It’s amazing as moms – we all feel it. Have a great weekend!


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