Ahh…the first day of school.
The anticipation,the excitement,the nerves.
All so familiar.
I don’t know about you, but I remember it as if it were yesterday.
Getting up early to do my hair (leaving a cloud of Aquanet hairspray behind me)…I grew up in the late 80s, ok?!, trying on outfits the night before, wondering, not sleeping….the anticipation of a new beginning.
I also had to schedule in time to clean up after my parents, walk to the grocery store with Mom for another 12 pack of beer, and of course…break up any fights that may arise.
Truly, I couldn’t wait for school to begin.
It was my “safe” place.
Normal people, calm environments, and the one place where I could focus on just me.
I remember lying to my teacher in 6th grade, as I happened to be the only student without a backpack or supplies. Why? Well, “because my parents had been on vacation of course and had gotten back late.” NOT because they spent their money on alcohol and forgot I existed.
I remember one year, getting up early, getting dressed and walking to elementary school…not for any reason other than I ASSUMED it was the first day of school.
I didn’t want to miss a beat.
As I got older, I vowed that if I ever had children, they would never be without new clothes or supplies to start their year. I kept that promise… to this day. I also managed to make sure other children had what they needed for their success as well.
I must admit, I do go a bit overboard… but a few extra pairs of shoes never hurt anyone right?
Today I watched my youngest child walk out the front door, to her car, to drive herself to school. The school she will graduate from this June.
My last “leaf ” is starting to change color, in Preparation for her Fall.
That’s a pretty big thing to swallow.
I feel like my oldest just got on the bus to go to Kindergarten….a few years ago???!!
But, time has passed. And quickly at that.
From the hands to hold to the college dorms to move in.
I feel like summer has once again changed into Autumn without my permission. And once again, I’m not ready.
I was sitting under my favorite tree, in our backyard, enjoying a bonfire this weekend. The sky was clear and I swear the air was completely still.
I arched my back to look up above me, to see that beautiful tree.
And it hit me. Look at the layers of leaves. Every year that is has grown, a new layer of leaves, there seemed to be.
Imagine all the storms, the winters, the hot suns, the people it had provided shade to.
Imagine it’s journey.
And how many times did it’s leaves change and fall, only to grow and become even taller again?
It made me well up as my children’s faces came into my mind.
I could see the oldest with his airplane jumper on, running about.
He’s my Tall Pine.
Steadfast and true.
He remains the Rock for the family, yet cheers us on, watching us grow. He’s 23 now. And a man I am proud to call my Son.
My “Steel Magnolia” daughter.
I pictured her curly brown hair, dancing about with her little hands,eating raisins.
She is beauty.
The tree that stops you in your tracks, but has a spirit of steel.
She started grad school this week and is one of the most resilient women I know.
My charismatic dreaming tree.
The one who walks to the beat of his own drum, has a heart of gold and never gives up on his beliefs.
His potential is limitless, as well as what he will do for those he loves. He started college this month.
And my weeping willow.
I pictured her long, flowing hair, standing strong in who she is. Sheltered by her long branches on the outside, but always protecting those she loves, beneath her shade. When she sets her mind to something, watch out. She will become her dreams.
So, I sat there. Thinking of how fast their layers grew. I never realized how fast the leaves change, the seasons turn and time goes on….
Until I took a moment to sit with my memories today.
Time is interesting. It has a way of taking control. You think you have so much of it, until it’s gone. You think that day will never come and then it does. And it’s over, in the blink of an eye….kind of reminds me of a Midwestern summer.
So here’s to the first day. Of school, college, that new job, the start of the new relationship, the journey of life.
Every day shines a new light through the leaves of the trees.
They stay grounded in the storms.
Their branches sway, but rarely break and when they do, they grow some more.
Like anything successful and strong in this world, it needs a solid foundation.
….And wings to fly when the Autumn breeze beacons.
Let the leaves change color, as they will when they want and without our permission.
Let them fall down, only to be more vibrant the next spring.
And every once in awhile, take a moment to look up and see how amazing those “trees” have grown to be💜
This one is dedicated to the reasons for the breath I take each day when I awake and the reasons I always try to be a better me.
Love to my 4 souls.