Could there really ever be anything new to say about the first day of school? As I sit here this morning with my coffee in a silent and still house, my heart is so full and yet, as always, a little raw; Tender thoughts and feelings about those two not-so-little girls that set out for their school day this morning. No one is tucked up snuggly in their bed still dozing in and out of sleep. No one is watching Netflix and grazing on breakfast food and lolling about with no particular plans for the day but to swim and sun and play… It’s over. Summer came. We saw. We conquered. A good time was had by all. And now it’s over. And although we prepared in every possible way these last few weeks to be ready for this morning– The clothes, the hair, the schedules, the bags and shoes and supplies– there is always something in me that wants to cry for a minute, scoop them up in my arms and say, “Stay. Don’t go.”
And yet, I know, I KNOW. They have to go. And in reality, I WANT them to go. They have big plans and dreams inside those beautiful little heads and pounding little hearts– And busy schedules already filling up for this year. But there is something so poignant about this first day every single year that pierces my heart. And I’m not sure these feelings ever really go away.
On a morning like today, you look at their bright shining eyes– the excitement in their faces– and you can’t help but reflect. Not just on this past summer. But all the way back. You think for a moment about the day they were born– the exhausting weeks and months that seemed would last forever; Except they didn’t. In fact they flew by at lightning speed. And you think of every time you heard the words, “Enjoy every minute because it goes so fast!” And although you agreed, you sort of rolled your eyes and thought, “Yeah, not today though. Today feels like it will never end!” But somehow every first day of school reminds me that it IS going to end someday. That it doesn’t last. That it DOES go too fast. That I can’t get it back. No matter how happy I am for them, how proud I am, how absolutely I marvel at the potential inside of all three of my kids and the utter excitement I feel at their futures; It still makes my heart panic. This idea, this feeling– that it’s all one step closer to losing them. Not in a literal sense, of course, but in the sense that their childhood is like trying to hold a handful of sand. I just can’t. It keeps going, keeps moving. Grain by grain, day by day.
And so as I sit here this morning, I resolve anew. To savor. To enjoy. To really see them. To really know them. To keep their hearts close to mine. To keep looking at them and who they are turning out to be and absolutely delighting in the wonder of it all. To set down my phone and my work and my plans. To set aside the so many worthless distractions of this world so that when the day comes and my hands are empty, I am still surrounded by all of this sand and it is beautiful.