Florida schools started this week. I grew up when schools started after Labor Day and got out just before Memorial Day.
Girls had to wear dresses until somewhere around Junior High when pants were allowed if the temperature got below a certain number. That was in Arkansas. Then I moved to Baltimore where the male teachers had ponytails and wore jeans and Patchouli and liked hearing my “accent”. What accent?
It will soon be time for school pictures. Mama always gave me one of those home permanents in 1st and 2nd grades. They stunk and never lasted long. My hair was nothing like hers which caused her much frustration. She eventually gave in to my desire to let it grow under a few conditions: keep it brushed and off my face. Somewhere around 5th grade I was ready for this responsibility.
I can’t remember the names of all the school I attended, only the places.
kindergarten: New Orléans
1st & 2nd Grades: Pine Bluff, Arkansas
3rd & 4th Grades: Alexandria, Louisiana
5th Grade: Oklahoma City & Shawnee, Oklahoma
6th, 7th, part of 8th: Fayetteville, Arkansas
2nd semester 8th grade: Fort Smith, Arkansas
9th Grade: Baltimore, Maryland (two schools; 1 in the city and 2nd in the county)
10th Grade: Fort Myers, Florida & Salt Lake City, Utah
11th Grade: Fort Lauderdale, FL & Beaumont, TX
12th Grade: Fort Lauderdale, FL
The day before preschool pictures, our son’s teacher met me at the door. Never a good sign. He and a friend had gotten hold of scissors and taken a cut on each others bangs. That always makes for good photo’s.
Looking at our kids school pictures bring back a flood of emotions. That wistful feeling of realizing how fast the years have gone and asking if we cherished the moments enough.
With my school years being marked by moving it was with intention we wanted more stability for our children. Henry worked hard to provide the kind of schooling we wanted for them and to make a way for me to meet them after school. His work provided the opportunity to be the shuttle mom to their games and late practices and field trips. It wasn’t just a gift to our kids but to our family. One we never took for granted and one we shared with friends. A gift for which we still give thanks.
Now we start with the granddaughter and my heart yearns to be the one in the car line for her, ready to hear the stories of the day. Distance requires we settle for delayed stories and rely on technology to share photo’s. It requires more intention to close the space of miles.
Facebook has been flooded with back to school photo’s and ice bucket videos this week. I’m seeing photo’s of the kids of those who rode in our minivan to after school games and I’m trying to choose to feel grateful rather than old. The grateful part is easy but that old feeling gets heavier. But I still flip through the photo’s because of the gratitude. Because of the blessings then and now. So let’s see those school pics, friends. Would love to see some of your favorite.