8 years ago today, my family of 4 headed to our neighborhood bus stop for the last time.
Back on that day, my oldest was THE oldest at the bus stop - not just by age or grade but physically too. He towered above the other kids and looked completely out of place. It was on that day that I realized every single phase of childhood was reflected in our bus stop:
- the newborn baby who everyone hovered over and smiled at
- the toddler playing in dirt and eager to dart into the traffic
- the preschooler with a million questions and comments about the world
- the pre-kindergartner who desperately wanted to be getting on that bus that year
- the kindergartner dressed in his very best khaki shorts and polo shirt, anxiety and excitement written on his face
- the 1st grader who couldn't believe they had cried the year before
- the 2nd grader who boarded the bus with secure confidence - they've got this
- the 3rd grader who was starting to feel the power of being one of the "big kids"
- the 4th grader who would get to sit near the back of the bus and begged to wear tech t-shirts and basketball shorts on the first day of school
- the 5th grader who was beginning to feel out of place and ready to move on.
But, that bus stop wasn't just a snapshot of each stage of childhood, it was also a cross section of parenthood:
- the single parent managing it all on their own
- the work from home parent who could only be away from her computer for so long before her boss got mad
- the parents who worked opposing schedules and were handing off child care responsibilities in the morning
- the stay at home parents who were somewhat grateful for one less child to entertain that day
- the new-to-the-neighborhood parents who didn't know anyone.
That school year 8 years ago flew by quickly and before we knew it, we were all standing back at the very same bus stop, this time on the last day of school.
Sometime my heart aches a little when I drive by that old bus stop and catch reflections of who we all used to be.
And sometimes, for just for a moment, I wish we were back there - back in that space where life was both harder and easier.
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