Waving More Goodbyes


After dropping off two children at the sidewalk that leads to the elementary school entrance and loading backpacks onto little shoulders that should be spared carrying any weight or worries until they are declared “all growed up.” A wave goodbye and a hastily blown kiss from my oldest makes me stop and pause to watch them walk in together.

Sitting in my vehicle, I make some time to be still and just watch them walk while the snowflakes pile up on the windshield.  Some blow in through the open window and my son’s voice interrupts the moment,  the sound muffled since he too is stuffed into his own winter garb, and pinned behind the safety belt.  “Cold, cold cold, brrr.”  I keep the parking brake on, and watch the two girls trudge to the door.

My middle girl, walking all lopsided down the pathway behind her sister, is trying to stay in her sister’s footprints to keep the cuffs of her jeans dry,  but is skittering all off balance due to the snowboots and snowpants that are hanging in a bag on her right arm.  Five mornings a week, they make the familiar trek into the building where adults that I don’t even know, shape and mold their little selves.

Wind has blown the canvas bag till it turns circles, wrapping its long handles around her forearm and bouncing off of the new winter coat that makes her grumble every morning as she tries to get the sticky zipper to cooperate.  The wind’s antics are familiar and she spins out the bag, like we used to do with the spaghetti cords of a wall telephone, and when it stops she clutches it to her side and forces it to listen to her command to be still.

She catches sight of our vehicle still at the end of the walk, and turns back with wide eyes, surprised to see me still sitting there, not knowing that I am worried that she’ll be stopped by a locked door and made to turn around and retrace her steps through big sisters prints again and walk, without seeing the sparkling snow, the rare and individual pattern of each snowflake that she was taught to see in kindergarten.  I’m afraid she will have to walk her little legs to the main entrance and talk Mrs. Strommen into writing a late pass, and explain to her teacher that she just had to have one more goodbye.

Such a big day ahead of her, full of listening, making sense out of all the rules, following the plan of the day, and keeping her wild spirit in check while she tries to meet her 2008 school time goal of “being organized” which she carefully wrote in wobbly cursive on the first page of her reading class journal.

She does a quick peek to verify that the teacher is holding the door for her and even though she knows she is pushing the limits of late, she stops and shifts the boots and gear so that she can free a hand, to raise above her head and wave again, flapping her wrist and putting all of her elbow into it so that I won’t miss her goodbye.

I am waving goodbye to her, too. Making sure to lean out the window and put my whole arm into my wave, like a hometown queen on a float in the summer parade, I wave and wave so that she knows we have exchanged a goodbye that will keep us both looking forward to the hello hug that comes after my groceries and her math class and laundry and penmanship and errands and music time until finally, a huge hello hug, reunites us at the end of our working day.

I’m grateful that I am AlwaysLearning-

An updated version of this story was published in John Rosemond’s February 2010 Newsletter at http://www.Rosemond.com

A. Woz.

One Response

  1. Tugs at the heartstrings. Definitely worth a repeat!

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