She skipped across the street to the corner where the school bus would stop. I see her every morning. Today, she turned back to the truck where her Dad was watching. She waved so vigorously her whole body swayed. Something was different. Then I saw she had a floppy stuffed animal in her hand and was waving it back and forth towards her Dad. Her smile was so big even my failing eyes could see. As the school bus approached, one last fierce wave and then she gently placed her floppy friend in her backpack, which looked way too heavy for her body. She was off to school where she would have to sit still, memorize, and be taught all the things society has decided are important. If by grace a moment to color, it would have to be done within the lines. But inside her backpack, a soft floppy but now still little reminder that she is still a child. A child of wonder, magic, laughter, joy, and such a huge smile of life and love. She’s growing up but she has a soft reminder of what counts. As the school bus drove away my arm and hand fell down into my lap. As did my own floppy stuffed animal that had been waving back.