It's a peculiar feeling when your baby calls from a Chinese buffet in Tomah, Wisconsin.

And she's off! This is a day every mother dreams of. Should I laugh? Cry? Scream? Dance naked on the kitchen table? Make all my favorite foods that my kids used to complain when I made? Or just feel a little wistful for a while. And hopeful. For me and for my babies. It's a bit like giving birth, I suppose. There's the feeling that they're finally OUT, and that IT'S FINALLY OVER. But at the same time, there's the feeling that something that was your own special little secret has been leaked to the world and who knows where it will end? As a continuation of my sharing of old poems (last one, I promise) I'll offer this one that I wrote when Lindsay was a baby. I was following her down the sidewalk one sunshiny morning and it just came over me. It still never ceases to feel true to me on days like this:

I can think of several illustrations that come in handy for today, as well. There's the "Stay at Home Mom" series, of course, but there's also "Let it Go":

and this oldie but goodie from the archives, "Dreams take Flight." Because our children are like dreams -- real yet elusive at the same time, fantastic, full of our comfortable selves but also full of new things our conscious minds could never have imagined.

And lastly, people ask me all the time if this is an illustration of Hannah:

I'm not sure why. Because she is singing? Because she has such dark hair and the cheeks suggestive of two perfect beauty marks? Because she is riding on a bird? I usually smile and say, "I guess it is."
Today, anyway.

Because today somehow the Maxima swallowed up Hannah and ALL of her piles and pulled out of the driveway. She put on an adorably jaunty hat (for courage, she explained) and then . . . POOF!
Good luck, sweetie.
Look out, world. Hannah's home.


april said...

keep the poems coming; i'm loving it. you really do write beautifully (even in your posts) and it's so fun to come and see what you want to share. although this post tugged on the heartstrings as i know the ultimate part of parenting is letting go.

Jake and Chelsea said...

she texted me from tomah, wisconsin! i can't believe she's doing it alone. or maybe i can.

reading your blogs is so fun. you are a writer again! everything, ALWAYS, comes back to you.

Ann said...

I really, really love keeping up with your family via the blog! I love reading your writing too. For some reason your blog encourages me to make comments. I usually just lurk.

It was tender to me reading your post while holding my (huge) 2 year old baby bird on my lap and thinking about how we are preparing him to some day take flight.

susan m hinckley said...

Thanks -- those are some of the sweetest comments imaginable. I feel honored that you would take the time to read my little ramblings. I love hearing from you.

Crayons said...

Hi Susan,
Beautiful post! The images are powerful. I especially like the title. I'm not a mom, but I've watched this moment pass with many of my friends. My friend said, "My hard work is done. Now I have to let her make her own life." Wow, that really touched me.

re: the poster
Thanks for the enthusiasm. Yes, I would like to make that a reality. My rates are very low. E-mail me and we'll figure out how to do it.


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