This morning when I opened the back door to feed Lucy I was greeted with something wonderful, something beautiful, something unexpected.
No, it’s not late September – it’s the end of July, I had to remind myself. I stood there for a minute (only a minute because I had a hungry dog doing her breakfast dance in front of me – it’s extremely distracting) and let the cool breeze float past me, whisking away all the memories of this past weekend’s blazing heat and humidity.
And I swear I think I felt – chilly. Could that be? In Alabama? In July? Am I sleepwalking????
The subtle cool breeze brought to mind memories of my children starting school each year. Yes, it’s usually blazing hot (who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to start school in the south at the hottest part of the year?) but about late September (if we’re lucky) or early October we finally receive the blessing of Mr. Heat Mizer letting go of the tight grip he has on the south.
And then a little movie played in my head. It looked like a cartoonist’s drawings before they are put into action – you know, where you can flip the pages quickly and it looks like a character is running or jumping – that kind of movie. Only it was a movie of all the first day of school pictures I had taken of my children over the years.
And each picture made me smile a little (and tear up a little). As the movie played I could see how they had changed physically over the years, from toddlers to confident elementary schoolers to awkard pre-teens to overly confident high schoolers. I thought about cheer practice, basketball games, studying for tests, projects made and field trips taken. Precious, precious memories – all of them.
Those pictures in my head reminded me of how we would start each year excited, full of hope and expectations. And I thought about how each year my children both achieved and failed – because that’s life.
And so another school year is upon us (almost). For those of you with kids still in school (or grandchildren nearby) my advice is to go watch them in whatever activity they do as much as possible. Doesn’t matter if they spell a word to win the Spelling Bee or miss a 3-pointer to win the game – go watch them. You’ll never regret all the memories you accumulate, and you’ll need those when they go to college. (Now don’t go all helicopter parent on them – that’s definitely not what I’m saying. Just go. Watch. Be there.)
And pray for them – daily. Lord knows they need it with what they face at school every day. Here’s a couple you can throw at them as they walk to the bus or as you drive them to school:
“The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7, 8)
“You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” (Deuteronomy 28:6)
Oh the sweet blessing of fall. Thank you, Lord for a little taste of that season today and the memories that come with it.
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