College football ramps up this weekend, with WVU playing on Sunday. I know, from last year, this will be a tough day for me. Unlike last year, though, I’m ready for the emotion of watching something I know Ryan loved and looked forward to seeing. I’m already starting to feel sad about it. So, yes, I am ready…. not going to get me again this year. Right?
I wish I could say the same about my experience this past Monday morning. Like so often, it’s the small things cause a flood of remembrance. Joy… laced with sadness. Last year at this time we had Ryan in rehabilitation at Kessler (West Orange, NJ) so I missed seeing all the children, with their proud parents next to them, on their first day of school. The kids carrying their new backpacks, shoes glistening in their newness, and big grins across their faces. Had it not been for our dog, Tucker, I would have (mercifully) missed it again this year. He was barking his furry head off.
We were a family of making and carrying on traditions. This applied to the first day of school. We would go through the same routine each year, ending with photos on the porch (or, in Kari’s case, a photo shoot). The elementary school years had the added enjoyment of walking the kids to the bus stop at the top of the hill each morning (coffee in hand) and waving as the bus pulled away… something I miss very much.
So, I watched as the group ascended the hill. I caught myself smiling. It is truly a wonderful site to see parents and their children sharing moments like these. I wondered, will these parents take the time to freeze this in their minds forever? Do they know just how significant this is?
I hear the bus approaching, but cannot see it through the stand of pine and cedar trees. I imagine the parents waving when I hear the bus motor pitch rising as it drives away. Did they snap a picture of their child waving back through the bus window? Did they not leave the bus stop until the bus was fully out of sight?
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I was completely caught up in the wonderment until I see parents emerge from behind the stand of trees. All of the sudden the day seemed too damn bright… the curtain was pulled from my mind and I stepped back into reality.
Funny, I don’t remember at what point my smile turned to tears.