During the course of a work day, I see many mothers with their children, but my heart is most often touched by the Mothers Who Walk. Let me explain.
My job keeps me on the road between the early intervention families I visit and my office which is based in a public school. Our little school is pretty special because it’s dedicated to teaching only preschoolers. It is home to the town’s Head Start program where there are morning classes, afternoon classes, full-day classes and lots and lots of preschoolers!
Every day, as I travel to and from my office, I witness the coming and going of the daily tide of students and their families. Dedicated parents and family members bring their children to attend Head Start and then return later to bring them home. There is no bus transportation for the Head Start program.
Most of our students arrive by car. It may be in a family or friend’s car or sometimes even a taxi, but a car is the most frequent mode of transportation. However, some parents do not have the luxury of private transportation. These are the Mothers Who Walk.
Mothers Who Walk with their children in tow must walk at least a mile from the bus stop to our school. They walk in sun, in rain, in wind, and in snow. And I don’t even know how far these mothers and their children have walked just to get to a bus that will take them to the our Head Start school.
Can you imagine walking a mile on a super hot day while in the last trimester of pregnancy? I have seen more than one mother doing this. Some have been carrying a baby in their belly and pushing a toddler in a stroller while holding the hand of their preschooler.
Can you imagine trying to contain the boundless spirit of a preschooler to keep him safely on the sidewalk for more than a mile, after a bus ride or possibly two? I have seen dedicated mothers doing this every day.
Can you imagine faithfully walking your preschool child to school for an entire New England winter? Last winter after our serial snow blizzards, the snow was so deep that I could only see the heads of mothers above the piles of 4 feet high snow as they walked their little ones to school.
Today was “Fall Festival” at our little school. The festival was held in the late afternoon at the end of the day’s classes. For most parents this made it an easy fit into their day but that was not the case for all our parents. Mothers Who Walk who have children in morning classes had to walk to school again if they wanted their child to participate. And some of the mothers and their preschoolers did just that!
As I was heading home after the Festival, I drove past one of the Mothers Who Walk who was walking with her preschool-aged son and her two older boys who had also attended the Fall Festival. They were the picture of a close-knit family as they walked home together in the waning daylight, walking closely, side by side. The symbolism was poignant. My heart was warmed by this mother’s dedication. I wondered if she was aware of her accomplishment in drawing her family closer together on this festival afternoon. It’s so easy when you’re a parent not to notice your accomplishments.
All of the young mothers I see, but especially the Mothers Who Walk , walk toward a brighter future for their children. These mothers have a purpose and a vision for their family’s future. Even if they do not see it yet . . . I do. They have made a commitment to family and to learning.
. . . I am so incredibly and indelibly touched by that.
Life is Fine,