It was beautiful spring weather yesterday and I found myself walking along the same route as the elementary school bus. It had the same bus driver from eight years ago when my youngest son rode that bus for the last time. It was taking the same route. The only thing that had changed was the children. Different children came bounding off the bus just like my two boys did years ago. They ran to a different set of adults than when my boys were younger. They were slightly disheveled in that “we were outside at recess today” way. They exited the bus talking to each other and then the adults who listened about their day.
I remember being those people with the young children. I was once that mom listening to the tales of the elementary school day. My children were once that small and young and slightly disheveled. I can still see them that way. In my mind’s eye, they are those boys even as I stand in the same room with them now – both taller than me, both with razor stubble and both so adult. One of my boys has graduated from college, gotten a job and moved to his own apartment two bridges and several highways from here. The other is a college student who lives among his peers and paves the path for his future independence. It’s been a while since they were on that bus with that bus driver at that bus stop.
As I watched the parents retrieve their children and walk with them toward home, I found myself wishing for them. I wished that they become as grateful as I am to have held a new life in my arms in the seconds after birth and to have held that same child as I left him at college. I wished that they smile someday when they remember the sleepless nights and the child who only wanted to be in their parents’ bed at night. I wished that they even remember the fevers, coughs and mysterious rashes as priceless and irreplaceable affirmation of the parent/child bond.
I hope that they get to feel like I do – that the greatest privilege of my life has been helping my two boys to become the strong, ambitious, independent young men who now tower over me. I pray that these parents get to feel the sweet success of having raised loving and productive members of society.
I find that as my boys get older, my opportunities increase. I have always worked and I have been so lucky to have a supportive husband who supports my crafting of a career. I have never been the stay-at-home type. It’s simply not me. I am happier and better because I have a life outside of and apart from my family. I think it is not a coincidence that as my boys have become gradually more and more independent, I have gradually had more speaking, writing and consulting opportunities. I travel often. I spend time with typical children, special needs children and at-risk children. I get to work with the most amazing organizations and people. I am busy editing a soon to be published book. I stand in auditoriums and listen to people introduce me and I think, “How crazy is this life? I can’t believe that list, that bio is about me!” Just as it has become my boys’ time to fly, it has become mine, too. I pray that these adults at the elementary school bus stop know that when their children leave and the time on the bus has ended, parents’ lives can blossom. As my mother often says, “It is as it should be” and so the elementary school bus simply makes me smile.
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