First Day of School

So, I was up early on the first day of school. Not because it was different or special—Lynda and I have grown beyond the stage of life when we sent little boys off to the bus stop with their new backpacks and skateboarding shoes. I’m trying to get into a new routine after three months of traveling. Which for me means getting up to walk at 6:15.

One advantage of early morning walking is that it’s cooler.  Believe me, it’s no fun to put off my daily walk until late afternoon when it’s 92 degrees.

I had almost finished my morning walk with Bruce Hornsby singing in my headphones. As I turned the corner for home, there it was: the bright, yellow school bus picking up the elementary school children who live on my street.

I counted 12 parents. There were a couple of cameras flashing and one video camera recording the first climb onto the bus.

There was lots of waving as the bus lumbered away. In 200 yards it eased around a bend and was gone from view. From the corner of my eye, I saw one couple embrace, and I turned quickly away.  I still remember those tears—those “he’s grown up so fast and is already starting school” tears that parents have to blink back.

I was almost at my driveway when I heard it, loud enough to drown out Bruce. “Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaa!” I turned around to see a dozen parents cheering, hugging, and high fiving each other.

I thought of Koheleth, the Preacher of Hebrew Scripture, who long ago observed, For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: …a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance… (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4).

The first day of school on my street brought a little more laughing and dancing than weeping and mourning. As it should.

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