All of the Septembers


The birds woke me.  I lay in bed wondering what was significant about the day.  Something was happening today…What was it?

Then I remembered: It was my eldest’s last day of high school.

I stumbled out of bed and headed down the hallway, pausing at each of the kids’ bedroom doors, time to get up-ing them before going downstairs to put on a pot of coffee.  I tried not to get depressed.

As the coffee brewed, I thought about all of the Septembers—all of the first days of school, preserved in photographs neatly arranged in scrapbooks: Preschool—dressed entirely in pink, a stuffed tiger tucked beneath her arm.  Kindergarten—a yellow bus tag safety pinned to the shirt I’d sewn over the summer.  First grade—a uniform: a blue and black jumper with the school emblem neatly sewn on.  White button-up shirt.  Her shoes were polished and her socks were pulled up neatly.  She wore a new pink and purple backpack and carried a blue lunchbox. 


I have pictures of her first day of school in Canada.  Her first day of school after we moved back to the United States.  Her first day of high school.  Her first day of a summer internship.

But today is a last.

She comes downstairs and stands before me, now nearly as tall as I.  She wears a confident smile.  But her white shirt is faded to gray.  The school emblem barely clings to the snagged blue uniform that she’s worn for the past four years.  Her socks have holes in them.  They slip down her leg.  Her shoes are desperate for a polish and the left one is missing its lace.  She gave up backpacks and lunchboxes years ago.
I pour a cup of coffee.  Watch her rummaging through the cabinets for some breakfast.

“Last day,” I say.

“Yep.”  She’s happy and sad.  Mismashed emotions.

“Want me to take a picture?”  I need to document this day.

“Sure,” she says.  She hands me her I-Phone and leans against the wall.

“Smile,” I say.  And she does.

I snap the picture and hand her the phone.  She heads out to catch the school bus for the last time ever. 

I take a sip of my coffee and watch out the window as the bus slows then stops.  I tell myself that her last day of high school isn’t really a last.

It’s a new series of firsts.

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: All of the Septembers

Monday, July 2, 2012

All of the Septembers


The birds woke me.  I lay in bed wondering what was significant about the day.  Something was happening today…What was it?

Then I remembered: It was my eldest’s last day of high school.

I stumbled out of bed and headed down the hallway, pausing at each of the kids’ bedroom doors, time to get up-ing them before going downstairs to put on a pot of coffee.  I tried not to get depressed.

As the coffee brewed, I thought about all of the Septembers—all of the first days of school, preserved in photographs neatly arranged in scrapbooks: Preschool—dressed entirely in pink, a stuffed tiger tucked beneath her arm.  Kindergarten—a yellow bus tag safety pinned to the shirt I’d sewn over the summer.  First grade—a uniform: a blue and black jumper with the school emblem neatly sewn on.  White button-up shirt.  Her shoes were polished and her socks were pulled up neatly.  She wore a new pink and purple backpack and carried a blue lunchbox. 


I have pictures of her first day of school in Canada.  Her first day of school after we moved back to the United States.  Her first day of high school.  Her first day of a summer internship.

But today is a last.

She comes downstairs and stands before me, now nearly as tall as I.  She wears a confident smile.  But her white shirt is faded to gray.  The school emblem barely clings to the snagged blue uniform that she’s worn for the past four years.  Her socks have holes in them.  They slip down her leg.  Her shoes are desperate for a polish and the left one is missing its lace.  She gave up backpacks and lunchboxes years ago.
I pour a cup of coffee.  Watch her rummaging through the cabinets for some breakfast.

“Last day,” I say.

“Yep.”  She’s happy and sad.  Mismashed emotions.

“Want me to take a picture?”  I need to document this day.

“Sure,” she says.  She hands me her I-Phone and leans against the wall.

“Smile,” I say.  And she does.

I snap the picture and hand her the phone.  She heads out to catch the school bus for the last time ever. 

I take a sip of my coffee and watch out the window as the bus slows then stops.  I tell myself that her last day of high school isn’t really a last.

It’s a new series of firsts.

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7 Comments:

At July 2, 2012 at 7:47 PM , Anonymous Michelle Mossey said...

Very sweet post. My oldest is starting preschool this fall and I am trying to be brave! Visiting from Yeah Write #64.

 
At July 2, 2012 at 8:35 PM , Anonymous Jamie Yap said...

So sweet! I always hear such lovely stories from friends who embark on the new phases in life with their children. It's pure love!

 
At July 2, 2012 at 9:48 PM , Anonymous Laurel a bubblylife said...

New firsts...my daughter just turned one and this makes me want to squeeze her, time goes much too quick.

 
At July 3, 2012 at 7:40 AM , Anonymous TriGirl said...

This is so bittersweet. Sounds like you've done your job right in raising a confident young woman.

 
At July 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Oh, this is so bittersweet. Mishmashed emotions, indeed. It will be a series of firsts. Lovely post.

 
At July 4, 2012 at 7:10 AM , Anonymous SisterhoodoftheSensibleMoms said...

"Mismatched" is the perfect word. My eldest is starting high school and at times I feel like I am on a cable car cresting the biggest hill in San Francisco and we have just discovered we have no brakes.

The persistent lump in my throat is testament that you hit the right tone with this, without, I might add, turning it into a syrupy mess.

Ellen

 
At July 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM , Anonymous MannahattaMamma said...

A new series of firsts. I like that, and I like that your teen-age daughter will still a) let you take her picture; and b) smile when you say smile. At this point in my own highschool career, if my mother had said "smile," I probably would've bitten her. Much less photogenic. Your post is just all kinds of wistful - lovely

 

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