Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Thousand Hummingbirds

His hand clasped in mine, we walked up the sidewalk towards the industrial doors. "Are you ready, Buddy?" I asked.

"Affirmative!" he replied, his newest verbal tick. I smiled, and ran my fingers through his coarse hair, fighting the urge to pick him up, and inhale him like a flower.

Not here. Such displays would embarrass him here.

As we walked towards our destination, a thousand hummingbirds traveled through my body. Fluttering through my stomach, flapping up and down my arms. I felt them struggle---trapped. Desperate to fly away.

He was whisked away from me with the promise of books and Goldfish crackers, and I stood in line. I held my essential documents. His birth certificate. His social security card. Immunization records. A copy of my mortgage. As if  pieces of paper could capture a life.

"You can't have him!" the hummingbirds screamed. "It's too fast!"

My left brain replied, "Let's not be hysterical. Haven't you been praying for this? Begging for it?"

"I didn't mean it!" My fingers hummed, then my heart pounded in response. "We didn't go the beach enough. Or the park. I could have read him more books. I miss him...already."

"Really? It's just kindergarten. It's not like he's going away forever."

"I know." I breathed deeply, and willed back the tears.

My left brain spoke, a fresh, cleansing breeze. "You're still his first teacher."

"I know." A flutter.

"You have the power to take him out if it doesn't work. You have your voice."

"I know." A release.

With each word, more hummingbirds poured out of me, and colored the sky. A kaleidoscope of movement.

I inched up the line, and then tenderly offered up my first son. "Please, world." I whispered,  "Let him fly here too."

After a brief hiatus, I return to The Red Dress Club. This week, we are to write a fiction or nonfiction accounting of a fight. I think I did that, maybe. Kinda. Concrit is welcome.


Minivan Lover said...

I knew what this was about after I read the second word. I'm both dreading and looking forward to the day I do this with Parker. (More dreading I think...)

"Inhale him like a flower." LOVE.

Muliebrity said...

I'm the mom is who thinking of homeschooling for all the wrong reasons. I don't want to send my baby to school. It does seem too fast.

Mama Sky said...

*sniff, sniff* beautiful imagery. I can't imagine the day. Thank God for late birthdays. I'm a year out from that decision. For so many reasons I want my boy home. The world's been cruel enough, can't he just stay right here in my arms where he's safe?

You're a brave mama. And you've done well. I'm guessing your baby will soar!

tulpen said...

I'm all hormonal and crying in

F***ing Hummingbirds.

Kim said...

You caught me on a very emotional day pondering these exact things. I go back to work in a month and both of my babies will have to go to daycare full time. This morning my husband maddeningly reminded me that the "daycare system" is too expensive and we might have to consider a home daycare. I almost threw up.

This is a beautiful piece. You've captured exactly the things I feel about my babies. Deaglan will be going to junior kindergarten in September. I can't take all this change at once.

And I love that - you are his first teacher. Love that!

Jenny said...

I'm doing this again with our youngest granddaughter. I think it hurts worse this time around.

Sending you a hug and a wish for acceptance. Letting go is the worst kind of pain.

Cheryl said...

Am I the only one who did back handsprings when my first went to kindergarten? Then again, the pre-k program is at the same place and basically the same hours, five days a week, so there wasn't much transition.

No. 2 goes in the fall. Yay!

However. When it's my last baby's turn? There won't be hummingbirds. There will be pelicans.

CDG said...

Flutter. Release.

The cool left brain.

I've felt it with kids who weren't even my own. I can't imagine when have to let my own go.

Except, yay! A little bit of freedom!!

Conflict, indeed.

Denise said...

Oh. My. Goodness. Just loved this. The release of the humming birds, coloring the sky, is just brilliant.

Carrie said...

I'm looking forward to sending my girls to school. Next fall is kindergarten for the older, preschool for the younger.


But I love the imagery you've created. It's a beautiful piece

Renee said...

I love the hummingbird analogy. Fluttering away.

And yes, Cheryl, I breathed a sigh of relief and freedom when mine went to kindergarten.

Theresa said...

Just adored the hummingbirds description! I never felt that way when mine went to school for the first time. I was dancing a little jig. However, I did take a gazillion pictures because both of them were so danged cute.
I do get it that some Moms feel the way you do, though. My sister was that way when her daughter started school. Tugs at the heart.

Anonymous said...

At least you still have one left in the nest. :)

Love the imagery.

(Of course, I don't have to tell you I was more than ready for my kiddos to start school.)

From Tracie said...

Nancy, this is so very beautiful!!

The imagery of the hummingbirds pouring out of you and coloring the sky - I love it.

This is a great take on the prompt. It is about flying on more than one level.

From Tracie said...

I just realized that you said "fight", but I read it "flight"....but honestly, it works both ways. lol.

Ms. Moon said...


sd said...

Beautiful piece. Doing this same thing with mine... but my youngest. Thrilled because public kindergarten is FREE (and I've been paying for child care since he was 6 weeks old), but saddened because for these past 5 years we haven't done enough parks and books. He grew up while I was at work :-(

Melissa said...

oh, i remember those days of having to let go. my youngest is in 1st grade, such a big guy now. i just want to force time to stand still every once in awhile, just so that i can catch my breath, touch their faces and let my emotions catch up with how fast it's all going!
beautifully done!

Jenna said...

so beautiful and achingly descriptive of the internal war and longing and tugging!

Jessica said...

Oh this is so beautiful, I'm all emotional now.

I love the hummingbird analogy. I have to let go in the fall and hope that my hummingbirds fly beautifully as well.

Elaine A. said...

Such a bittersweet time. Your words captured it well. Love the internal struggle here..

I'm like Cheryl, it didn't affect me that much the first time around and probably won't the second but when my little baby girl goes, oh goodness!!!

Ash said...

He's going to rock it. And when he comes home in the afternoon full of stories of recess play and snack time and library fun, you will soak it all up and enjoy every second.

I promise.

And, you'll be allowed to discover a little more about your youngest. That was the present I was not anticipating.

Hugs to you my love. I'm all sorts of bittersweet hummingbird madness myself. I imagine a long Summer will cure me though ;)

Leighann said...

I experienced these very feelings when I put my daughter in daycare at the beginning of this month. You have put these emotions into words perfectly.

"With each word, more hummingbirds poured out of me, and colored the sky. A kaleidoscope of movement."
My favorite.

Julie said...


That's not a word.

(They'll teach him that in kindergarten. Maybe.)

But what you wrote here?

Needs a new word. So I made one up.

Loved it. Loved.

Sara said...

This was a well written story that brought tears to my eyes. I remember the first day for my girls. They are now 33 and 28 years-old, but I still remember. I cried more than they did. Actually, I think they were relieved when I left:~)

I loved how you used the hummingbirds as your alter ego voice of the mama who wants to keep the baby home and safe. I also loved how you made the hummingbirds pour out of you. Then we have the closing; it was perfection:~)

I'm sure there's probably something someone will pick up on, but it's not me. I loved every word of this story:~)

Andrea (ace1028) said...

This was beautiful, powerful, emotional and so real. I'm not there yet, literally, so I don't know it, but I can imagine. First I thought it was a doctor's appointment! I was like, what? WHY? Then I followed you. I felt within your skin. Whew. I breathed when you finally could. I'm glad you wrote this and shared. I would have totally missed it if you had not.

De Su Mama said...

My baby is 15 months and this brought me to tears thinking of leaving her on her first day of school. Beautiful, wonderful piece. I loved most especially Mom's hopes of a world of flight and encouragement.

Stephanie/The Drama Mama said...

"With each word, more hummingbirds poured out of me, and colored the sky. A kaleidoscope of movement."


You don't need to state the left brain is the one doing the talking twice, in my opinion. I think the second one is the more vivid, so maybe you could move it up.

IS there nothing you can't write and write well? Love that you are back.

The Reason You Come said...

This was so poignant and beautifully written! The last lines left me crying. "Please, world...Let him fly here too." Such moving words!

Kir said...

Oh Nancy, Oh my gosh, this was such a beautiful post. I am sitting here hoping I don't start crying at my desk. WOW. I'm sorry I missed it on Friday, but so glad I got back to it.

Offering him, what a powerful phrase and phase for both of you. I think I feel the hummngbirds starting in my tummy.

thank you for this.