I love the first day of school. I really do. However, the first day of school has become so overblown, so overdone, so over talked about, like everything in our society--- we miss out on the innocence of it. The joy. The sorrow. The worry. The moment.
It is one day in the lives of our children. One. It should be celebrated and lifted up, but not in such a grandiose way, the bar is set at preschool or kindergarten. Um, the kid probably has close to twenty first days coming his/her way. Sometimes a picture really is worth a 1,000 words.
This is one of my favorites.
My mom is the photographer. She is probably late for work. She was a teacher and had to leave early. My dad was the neighborhood carpool guy. You see that hat? He was wearing it because he just woke up and was hiding his bed head. He also wore that heinous hat to pick us up from school and embarrassed the hell out of us on a weekly basis. His look of apathy and disgust was pretty par for the course. Sidenote: My brothers and I are standing in front of my father;shielding the fact, he is in his boxer shorts.
Speaking of pajamas, my youngest brother is still wearing his, so I’m guessing he was going to the babysitter. He looks really excited about having his picture taken. No one made chalkboard signs detailing age and grade, so I am guessing he was probably 3.5 years old.My middle brother is looking like he is either going to puke or cry. I am the only one with a slight smile and holding some flower I probably picked from my mother’s flower bed. If this photo doesn’t scream happy, I don’t know what does. The only thing screaming are our white shoes, which are practically glowing.
If there was Facebook, Twitter or Instagram when I was growing up, I’m sure my mom would have posted this picture with the caption, #ihatemyfamily or #justliketheirfather or #blessed. It really depended on her mood and whether or not my dad remembered to pick us up from school.
This photograph is a snapshot of a moment. Just a moment. It isn’t representative of our school year, how we felt about school, or if we liked wearing those spiffy plaid uniforms. It doesn’t depict whether or not my mom made my sandwich into a sunshine ( she did not) or left me notes everyday in my lunch that made me smile (she did). My brother didn’t cry or puke when he got to school and I got too embarrassed to give the flower to my teacher, so I threw it away, then cried about it later. The only thing the photo depicts was we didn’t want my mom taking the picture, so we gave our best indifferent, unamused too cool for school faces.
I'm positive the neighbors heard her yelling,
" Just smile."
" Why can't you just smile?!"
"C'mon, I said smile!!"
" Pfffffft. Fine."
As some of us gear up for the first day of school or try to get into a school routine-- just remember all of the hurry, slurry, and worry is just a moment. One day, one week, one month in the lives of our children. It isn’t going to be perfect or what we built up in our heads or the perfect picture our cousin posted on Facebook. Just remember to enjoy and hold onto that moment. #innocence