Oh the memories. Although my kids are grown up now, I still remember so clearly those back to school blues. I miss the shopping, new shoes, outfits, backpacks, haircuts, all that comes with that season of our lives – back to school.
It was a beautiful late summer day, the air had that almost autumn quality to it that September has. That feel in the air and earlier sunset brings along with it the shift back to schedule and routine; for me that shift is an emotion in itself.
It’s the last day of summer vacation, and my little Regan, at five years old, is heading to kindergarten in the morning.
I packed her brand new lunch kit, running my hands over the design and hoping that she’d be happy with her first lunch as a school kid. Like she still does everything – methodically, Regan had chosen her lunch kit, backpack, new clothes and shoes with deliberation, it all had to be perfect.
As I set the Dora the Explorer backpack on the island and set about labelling her little girl inside shoes for the next day, my heart exploded. Sitting down on the floor, I covered my face and sobbed. In fact, 16 years later, writing about it, I’m crying again.
You see, when we welcomed Regan into our lives, I knew that I wouldn’t be going back to work, finally, with the birth of my little girl, I was able to stay at home with my children, run my photo studio and be where I wanted; with them.
Now, this little girl; the one that I had spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the last five years was leaving me. LEAVING ME. I cried as if my heart was broken, not wanting this perfect and precious time in our lives to end.
Through my tears, I heard the front door open and close, the clatter of three pairs of feet race up the stairs and stop abruptly around me, where I was sitting in the kitchen.
Then, as if it were Heaven sent, a little head rested on mine and a little pair of arms came round me. Her long, soft hair formed a curtain over my face, and it spelled perfectly of sunshine, dust and little girl.
“Oh Mama”, she said, “Are you crying because I’m going to school tomorrow”? I couldn’t even answer for the tears, simply nodded my head.
“It’s okay Mommy, I promise. Tomorrow morning, I’ll get on the bus, go to school, and then I’ll come right back home to you at the end of the day. You’ll see, it’ll be okay.”
This little tiny girl, she knew me so well. She gave me courage and strength when I should have been encouraging her.
After I tucked her into bed that night, I wrote Regan a long letter about that moment, my feelings about her going to school, and my never-ending love for her.
Every September I remember, and I think of all the Mommies and Daddies, Grandmas and Grandpas who will wipe back a tear, whether they’re watching their chicks climb the bus steps for the first time, or watching their fledglings fly the next.
I promise, they’ll walk through those hallowed doors, laugh and play, grow and learn and come right back to you. You’ll still be their favourite person.
In the meantime, here’s a little something you can download, print and fill in for your little adventurer. I hope you’ll put in a safe place, pull them out when you need to remember, and someday, share these priceless memories with them as they grow up.
I know how special, heart warming, and tear inducing this time of year is. If you reach out, I’ll even edit this custom printable for you to your specified wording.
If you feel like taking another little trip down memory lane, check out this blog post from a few years ago about how to photograph your children on their first day back to school.
ALBERTA CANADA AND BEYOND
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CopyrighT 2023 Carla Lehman Photography
My philosophy is simple. I take beautiful photos and tell your unique story. The moments that you'll want to cherish forever, your legacy. The ones that you'll frame in your home for years to come.