Today I waited patiently on my way to a meeting with a new coaching client, while my first sight of a crossing guide for the new school year became visible. She walked across the road holding up her sign and then signaled for the students to then cross. Each taking their turn, excited yet cautious for the day to begin. Another school year upon them.
I paused with coffee in my hand, turned the sports talk radio down on the dial and simply watched these kids. They all looked so young. Time has certainly gone by for me as those days were long in the rearview mirror by now. Thankfully they are still fresh in my mind and in reality, with my two boys still. Those first days of the school year were so special to me, I could see the exact same enthusiasm in the kids walking by. Such a time of innocence.
My older son Aryn used to absolutely love the first day of school. I recall many a time how excited he would be, the night before the new year began. He became extremely chatty and constantly remind his mother and me how much he had been looking forward for the morning to arrive. For a kid who really for the most part hated waking up in the morning, that first day was always different. There always seemed to be some kind of renewed purpose, to start anew and get back into a fall routine again.
He would wait by the front door, all ready to go. Always about fifteen or twenty earlier than he needed to be. All clean, dressed up in a carefully planned outfit spread out thoughtfully the night before. The wrinkles still evident from where it had been folded at the store. Aside from the excitement that the holidays brought, it always seemed to the one of his other favorite days of the entire year.
Such a simple thing to find pleasure in, to wake up and head back to the same building that housed your friends. But boy as kids, we all cherished that first day . The fascination we all had in comparing class schedules with one another and trying to decipher in our own basic poorly structured manner, who in terms of other close friends might also be in the same classes. It was all just so incredible back then. If there had been a cute girl or two in class, even better.
In those days ( I sound old at 52), life was as it should have been for a kid. An innocent time of wonder where all things are possible , and dreams still had the potential to come true. If you sat in class and learned about space, you could vision in your mind becoming an astronaut one day. In music class, a famous Rockstar and on the playground – a professional sports hero. For a kid, the future possibilities are endless to one day capture for your own.
Time has passed by now, so much in life has become clearer, and the stories that each of us can tell about our own individual life journey’s quite prolific. Some more dramatic in nature than others, but all equal in terms of importance. If you take a moment to think back to your first day of school, any grade it doesn’t matter. Consider the person that you were back then and the dreams that you had for your life. How many of them come true?
The reality of today, is that none of that stuff matters. Dreams are just that, a way for us to allow our mind to wander to a special place where we are each afforded the opportunity to rule the event. They are nothing more. But everything else too in the same breath. They begin at childhood but remain with us for our entire life. Perhaps that little reminder when we need it most, telling us that anything is still possible. I’ll take that little voice any day.
Each of us since that first day of school has faced adversity of some sort in our lives as well. It is a part of our journey together. It is just the more difficult part that we never seem to find a comfortable place to house in our minds. Like dreams however, adversity has a place too.
For some, it has since become all too real dramatically changing an otherwise well-conceived life plan.
I continued to watch the kids walk by the car, back packs too big for their tiny body frames to even safely proceed with any confidence in not eventually falling back. Aryn was the exact same way, his was absolutely huge. Whatever was in that thing on day one I have no idea, but it was all necessary to have. It is just what you did on day one of the new school year.
The compassionate reflective side of me considers the plight of the little boy walking alone across the walk without another classmate near him. His first day memories different than most, nothing special. He proceeds to school because he has to, hoping that perhaps this might be the first year that he is able to fit in with the others, and actually enjoy. For his sake, I too hope for that.
I am fortunate to remain in car, waiting just long enough for the kids to finishing crossing just as the school bell rings off in the distance to my right. The children all hurry in droves making their way to the front door to begin their new school year. Finally.
The joy in the children faces today will be indelible throughout mine for most of it. I have been brought back. Taken away from what I do, from the reality that is my life and briefly transported in time. For a few brief moments, I could swear that I actually saw myself walk by.
Where had I gone to all these years?