Every afternoon on my way to pick up my son at the bus stop, I pass a small pond. It's home to a variety of creatures—turtles, waterfowl, frogs, dragonflies. A few weeks ago, their numbers increased when four fuzzy new goslings hatched. They wobbled after their parents much like human toddlers, still getting used to being on their feet. If I got too close to them, they'd duck under their mama's wing while papa goose hissed at me to stay away.
Yesterday when I walked past, I noticed they've doubled in size. They walk and swim on sturdy, steady feet—they practically strut. And their dad isn't quite so aggressive when I slow down to watch them. They aren't babies anymore. The beginnings of real feathers are beginning to show like the peach fuzz on a young man's face. They're tweens or teens by goose standards now. In a few short weeks, they've gone from helpless balls of fluff to geese on the road to adulthood. I couldn't help but feel a little sad on Mother Goose's behalf.
My oldest son is finishing up elementary school this month. Next month he'll be eleven. He isn't a baby anymore. He doesn't seek shelter under my wing very often these days. I'm proud of the way he seeks out independence. It's a relief to not have to see to his every need—feeding, clothing, bathing. But I can't deny that eleven years have gone by much too quickly. Poor Mother Goose, I hope she has a girls' night out planned soon.