I refer to my children as my “little ducks” all the time. Why? Because they follow me everywhere all day long. I mean everywhere. Going to the kitchen to get a drink of water? There they are. Going to the tiniest room in my house (also known as the laundry room)? Yep, they are coming, too. Need to use the bathroom? Well good thing I don’t mind an audience, I guess.
I am not just talking about the younger two either, all three of them follow me around in a line from youngest to oldest all day. It is absolutely maddening some days. Especially when I just want to run out to check the mail, which should only take about 55 seconds round-trip, but it turns into a 30-minute expedition by the time the little ducklings have strapped on their shoes, grabbed their drinks, followed me to the mailbox (after fighting about who gets to check it). The next thing I know, we are out in the front yard for half an hour because one of them found a lizard, wanted to pick flowers, learn how to ride a bike without training wheels or dig for buried treasure.
After a day slap full of playing “follow the leader,” I was feeling a little overstimulated, so I loaded the girls up in the car to go grab a sno cone and head to the library. I do this often when they start driving me crazy at home, just to get a little bit of time where I am not being chased after. It is a good little break and reset for us all. We get a treat and some time for them to scatter about the library looking for a few good books.
As we were pulling back into our neighborhood feeling a bit refreshed, I suddenly had to slam on the brakes. We have two rather large ponds close by our house and they are always full of geese and here they were just taking a casual stroll across the street from one pond to the next. The girls and I just sat and watched them as they took their time, all of them walking in a straight line one after the other.
This goes back to the reasoning behind why I refer to the girls as my “little ducks” or I guess geese in this instance. This is what happens when a baby duck or goose is born, they imprint on the first thing they see, which almost all of the time will be their mother. You see a mother duck waddling or swimming around and she is sure to have a line of little ones following very closely behind her.
Although it can get overwhelming as parents and I am sure the mother ducks and geese, too, having constant shadows following you about, if I look on the bright side, I know they do this because they feel safe, comfortable and loved in my presence.
I know they will not always be my “little ducks.” One day they will fly the coop and I will be left wishing that I could get them lined up in a row behind me again. I feel the empty nest syndrome kicking in already just thinking about it.
(Paige Nash is a wife, mother of three little ducks, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)
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