The other day my daughter boarded the school bus that stops in front of our house and sat down. The boy in the seat behind her tapped her on the shoulder.
“Hey, what’s with that big fat white cat in your windowsill every morning?”
At first my daughter was confused. She looked back at our house as the bus pulled away trying to see what the boy was talking about. Then she realized what the boy was looking at.
“That’s not a fat white cat,” Alisa answered. “That’s my mother.”
The couch in our living room is level with the windowsill and I usually slouch down so the kids on the bus can’t see my white bathrobe. I guess I didn’t slouch down quite enough.
John, Alisa and I do a lot of waving back and forth before they board the bus each morning. As a matter of fact - while they stand on the street in front of our home waiting for the bus to arrive - we wave, blow kisses and send hands signals back and forth about how much we love each other for minutes on end.
It won’t be long until John and Alisa are too self-conscious to show me so much affection in front of their peers. Junior high school has the well earned reputation for gobbling up free spirited affectionate elementary school children and turning them into don’t-embarrass-me-in-front-of-my-friends tweens (youngsters stuck self-consciously between childhood and adolescence).
I have learned that you have to savor children while you still have them. You can’t take anything for granted because childhood doesn’t last. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into years. One morning you wake up, look outside your living room window and nobody is there blowing you kisses any more. You have to appreciate unbridled affection while you still can.
One of the reasons I write is so I can savor life times three. Once just isn’t enough. I write so that I can savor my life first while I’m living it, second while I’m thinking and writing about it and third while I’m re-reading and remembering. I have learned that life goes by so much faster than I thought it would and if you don’t notice how blessed each day is and really relish the moment – your life becomes a blur. You have to throw open up your heart, wrap your arms around your loved ones and embrace each other with gusto every single day. There will be a last time my son and daughter blow me kisses at the bus stop.
John and Alisa are my last two elementary school age children. I am not in a hurry to see them grow up and leave. I have a feeling that fat white cat in the windowsill will still be waving when they leave for high school and college. And she will still be in the windowsill with her nose pressed against the glass when they come back home with their own little ones for me to hold.