Thursday, March 5, 2020

Before And After

Continuing with the ten day writing challenge hosted by Kate Motaung.

Today's one word prompt is-After

I've done a few of these five minute writing challenges through the years and know what works best for me is to go with the first thing that comes to mind the minute I read the prompt. I always end up coming back to that first thought anyway, so might as well embrace it from the get-go.

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw today's prompt was 'after school'. I don't know why the brain traveled there. It's been a very very long time since I've had school aged children.

One day you're chaperoning a fourth grade field trip and the next you're somebody's grandmother. The little girls who filled all the empty spaces in your home are teaching school and raising children of their own, and you rarely think about those long ago days of math facts, reading logs, and whispered bedtime prayers.

When I think 'after school' my mind never goes to the teenage years. Instead I am catapulted back to 1990-something and the elementary school where nobody had to buzz you in because it was before.

In my minds eye I see little girls clambering off the bus. Eight years old. Ten years old.

Emotion splayed across their faces at the end of another school day.

Tired. Wired. Hungry. Hurt.
Delighted. Excited.

Full of words or tears, stories about their day spilling out everywhere or drawn out slowly bit by bit.

I take in the always too big backpacks and the everyday after school refrain of 'I'm starving!'.

I see that well loved, well traveled oak table, the one hubs and I bought unfinished when we were newly-marrieds. That table sat in front of the kitchen window and it was there those little girls talked about their day, ate their snack, did their homework.

I remember the plink of piano keys and the ringing of the timer saying practice done.

There were little legs in ballet tights, pony tails in scrunchies, puffy coats.

The sound of little girl chatter in the backseat of my car.

I remember singing.

Freckles across the nose.

Making plans.

I remember thinking after homework, after dinner, after the bedtime routine is through, then I can rest my feet.

I remember some days wanting to hurry up to the after.

There are days I'd love just a few more minutes of before.


  1. Joyce you really do have a way with words. Maybe you should right a book.

  2. Soo good and oh soo true. How often my mind travels back to those days for me. Convinced I’d never have them raised and out the door. We’d always be doing homework, and practice and sports. And now here we are and even my grand babies are growing up and a couple are even off at college. It all goes sooo fast. Didn’t realize at the time, but oh how I LOVED those DAYS!

  3. Oh yes, if we could have just a few more of those precious moments before. Loved this.

  4. I'm glad you went with your first thought!

  5. It is such a huge blessing that you could be home for the girls when their school days ended. We did it that way, too, with our three kids. I don't regret it for a minute.