A family is outside, wishing their fourth grader bye as he gets on the school bus. It’s a crisp Midwest morning, the sun is shining and everything is rich in color and drenched in sunshine. The parents look tired and a little out of sorts while the kids have their backpacks and wonder in their eyes.
The crossing guard has arrived at this spot and parents are relieved to see the same guy from last year. A cheerful and chatty man who waves at everyone with lots of heart.
There is lunch in the backpack and carrots with the ranch dip. There are random conversations about weather and school that have nothing but superficial value.
There is transition and amazement in this day today.
The first day of school.
Families are expecting a return to the routine. The pools will close soon. Activities will start. Classes will begin.
As the bus pulls over, kids line up and there is sudden commotion. Goodbyes and hugs ensue. As kids get on the bus, it slowly drives away.
All moms get back home to finish their coffee and get settled.
One mom sobs profoundly. She cries and she wails in pain. Her husband holds her for as long as she cries. She wants her pain to turn into tears and leave her so she can also finish her coffee and pretend that it’s alright. She is successful in doing that most of the time. But today, she couldn’t.
She is unsure how many of these days she will have.
I don’t know either.
As they say, “Make memories”. I made some more today.
And stay hopeful that there will be another first day of school for this mom.