This is me. The year is 1979. I am off to school, Snoopy lunchbox in hand, wearing what had to be what I thought was the coolest outfit EVER (at the time) ... blue satin1970's jogging shorts (oh the snags!) piped on the side with pink satin and a matching top that said JOG in big flashy letters, little eye -hole loop of satin tied in the back.... Oh did I think I looked good. My friend Christina Digney had the exact same outfit but her shorts were pink with blue piping, and let me tell you- we thought we could conquer our 8 year old worlds in these get-ups. If I close my eyes, I can still not only see, but smell my little grade school. The smell of industrial cleaner and floor polish, the musty smell of a place that has been closed for a few months and the air of new beginnings. Books and bagged lunches and beanbag chairs. The anticipation of buying school supplies- new Crayolas, scissors, over-sized pencils that little hands could wrap around, erasers, folders with ponies or kittens or rainbows glossily imprinted upon them (please, let us take a moment to remember that this was the 70's and early 80's....) Trapper Keepers, lunchboxes, milk cards and new clothes. All of it wrapped into a whirlwind week or two before you got to discover your own new little world. Finding your desk with your name tag on it. Reading primers, (Rockets anyone?) writing, recess. Penny drops from the monkey bars or sitting on the swings "spider style" with a friend seeing how high the two of you could go. Meeting your teacher you have been so eager to befriend. I loved every single one of my elementary school teachers. Every one. Can you still name all of yours? I remember asking my mother once when I was in third grade if she could tell me the name of her third grade teacher and she said no, she could not and I vowed then and there I would always keep my teachers names tucked away in a special part of my minds eye. (Miss Burrichter, Mrs. Warneke, Mrs. Gould, Mrs. Broznec, Mrs. Selby, Mrs. Czerny, Mr. Haskins...just in case you were wondering.) I always think of school, and miss school around this time of year.
This year though, its different. Ezra starts preschool today. My little boy, my baby, is in school. Yes, I know- its just preschool...but its a half day without me (or I probably should say without him) and I can't help but feel all of the things I felt before going to school. He is excited and nervous and anxious and hyper and maybe just a pinch scared. He has been saying his teachers name over and over again in his head so he doesn't forget- he has his box of "supplies" at the ready- he is worried that he doesn't cut as well as some of the other kids- he hopes he makes new friends-he wants to talk about dinosaurs and play outside- he is full of the excitement and wonder that only a child his age can contain. He is about to embark on a journey tomorrow that could lead to anywhere he wants to go- this is just the beginning. At the end of the day, I will be there- waiting anxiously to bring him back home.
Oh, back to me in the picture, in the brown paper bag- can you make out what is sticking out of the top? Flowers. A gift of flowers. Hmmm.