The Memory Bird Sings in This Empty Nest


My little girl was dressed up in a  polka dot outfit edged in layers because this was 1990.  My heart quickened as the mustard colored bus arrived to scoop up my kindergartner and take her out into the big world of school and rules.  I watched her walk proudly up the bus steps, the small Minnie Mouse backpack casually draped across one shoulder as she disappeared for a moment, and then was waving out the window at me.  And I, after mumbling quick goodbyes to the other parents, quickly retreated with my 2 yr. old son’s hand in mine, letting quiet tears fall.  Mothers do this.  Even though I decided I would not be emotional, the overpowering feelings of watching her take her big first leap of life along with the powerful, symbolic parent-child separation, well, it did me in, rather totally I must say.  And not only her first time at school, but my son’s also.

Years later, I would rush home from my job to be there for our two kids when they got off the bus.  In September’s quiet resolve, I would sit in the fading summer breeze, reading a magazine or book until I could hear the distinct sound of the bus’s diesel engine winding down a nearby hill.  Then I would listen raptly as stories of their days unfolded.  Whenever it was a new year of school, I would anxiously await all their news about new friends, classrooms, teachers and any dreaded homework assignments.  At those times, I believe I was more nervous about them starting a new grade than they were.

I thought it would go on forever.  I would be always there, waiting for their return.  But September after September numbered us all.  Kids grew.  Middle school then high school for each, coupled with longer hours at work for me, and we were separating more as children and parents are meant to do.

So they have left the home now at ages 25 and 22, finding their way in the world and scripting their own stories.  It is a September day today.  The first day of school for area children.  I cannot recall the last time I waited to hear about a new school year from my kids.  But the memory bird sings and fills my heart with the joys of having successfully raised two children.  I hear the voices of yesterday, and I remember their stories.  And when I hear the returning school bus today, I know other parents are creating their own memories of another back-to-school venture.  I hope they enjoy the ride as much as I have.

About andreamarjulie

Just trying to navigate a life circumvented by chronic migraines. Sometimes I write about managing with those, but at other times I am prone to deviate a bit.
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