Thursday, 20 June 2013
Goslings, graduation and growing up
When I was a student, my parents were living in a farmhouse in Suffolk which had a large pond. Every time I went home for the holidays, my mother would regale me with tales of the ducklings on the pond; how many babies there were; how many had survived; how big they were getting; how they had grown up, and so forth. I simply could not understand this obsession with the ducks. Yes, the ducklings were cute, but did I really need to hear about them in every single letter? When I came home, I wanted to talk about friends and parties and exam results - not the ducks.
Twenty years on and I think I understand. The baby goslings that waddled up my driveway last month have now lost their fluff and are middle sized geese, following their parents around on the pond the other day. It amazes me how fast they have grown, when human children take so long to develop and change. I found myself pointing out the goslings to the boys the other day when walking past the pond, and thought of my mother and her excitement about the ducks.
I think it is only when we have our own babies that we become so in tune with the cycle of life and nature. I always find this time of year quite emotional, because it's the end of another school year, and particularly this year as we are moving on. Tomorrow is the last day of school. There have been "graduations" all week of one kind and another; kindergarten, elementary school, middle school. Children are moving up and moving on.
Today, as the kids got on the bus, I think everyone at our stop felt a little melancholy. It's not only we who are leaving; another neighbour is moving to Florida and another's son is moving on to Middle School, so won't be on the bus in September. For those that remain, there will probably be a whole new crowd. My friend confessed that she felt quite misty-eyed as she put her 10 year old on the bus for the last time; it seemed like yesterday he was in kindergarten, she said.
For us, it's the end of an era. No more yellow school bus. In September, the Littleboys will be putting on school uniform for the first time and heading off to their new schools in London. No longer small and fluffy, but still my babies.