Our nest has been empty for a while now. Our youngest is twenty six. You would think I'd have it down by now; the way to be myself with no little ones left at home. And most of the time I do. My husband, Bob, and I have lots of things we do to enjoy life. We built a cabin in New Mexico. We have great friends both there and in Austin. We have our grown kids nearby in Austin. And my folks live in Sun City. So it's not really loneliness that makes me stand in the center of my nest and realize how much I miss the little feathers that used to line it so perfectly, making it such a comfortable place to live.
Since the youngest left home I have been writing a lot, mostly projects for children, and that fact got me to asking myself: why do I write for children instead of adults? Do I write for children because I loved being a child, or because I loved being a mom? Do I write for children because I remember so vividly what it was like to be five and fifteen? Or because when my children were those ages, and all the other ages they have been, my favorite thing was watching them become the people they are today? I don't know. I just know that calling up the memories of either time in my life is like taking pictures out of an album. Holding them in my hand and noticing anew the background or other details. Remembering the smells, the sounds, the way life felt on a day when the camera lens caught a big smile or a giant tear.
I don't really idealize the past, because I do remember the giant tear days very well. I guess I just want to make sure that in the busy, shifting, variable present I don't forget the days that got me to this one. This day is a gift, no doubt. And those days were as well. I want to remember to send thank you notes.