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the occasions lady and

The Last Bird in the Nest
by Audrey Poff, illustration by Brittney Guest

When the first issue of Jonesboro Occasions debuted, Sophie was only 1 year old. This month, as we celebrate the magazine’s 16th anniversary, the last bird in the nest begins her senior year at Jonesboro High School. It’s hard to wrap my head around both of those things.

Sophie and Occasions have literally grown up together.

During the first year of publication, Occasions was located in a spare bedroom in our home. Adam and Emma were in school during the day, but Sophie was still in the nursery just a few feet down the hallway from the home office. When she slept, I worked. She wasn’t much of a daytime sleeper though. You could not wear her out when she was younger – even a full day at Disney World was no match for her.

When Occasions moved into our first real office on Southwest Drive, Sophie would go to work with me from time to time. I kept a small chest with coloring books, crayons and a few toys under my desk so she could play while I got a few things done. Once, while I was recording payments and getting ready to make a bank deposit, I sat Sophie down on the desk beside me while I worked. She was probably 2 years old at the time. When I looked up, she had the rubber stamp that I had been using in her hand and had stamped “For Deposit Only” all over her forehead.

When she reached elementary school, Sophie discovered that she loved to write. One of her favorite things to do was to make little books of her own. As a publisher, writer and editor, I was cautiously optimistic. Although she is still a good writer, she is also strong in other subjects and has lots of time to decide what career path she will take.

As we embark on senior year for Sophie, I am excited about the opportunities ahead for the last bird in the nest. As we celebrate Occasions’ 16th anniversary this month, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue doing something that I love that has allowed me to help support my family and to be there for my kids for everything from football games to musical theater performances to cheerleading competitions.

The first time I realized that Sophie would graduate in the year 2020, it seemed so futuristic. It doesn’t seem quite possible, but senior year for the Class of 2020 is now on the horizon, and for the last bird in the nest, the sky is the limit.