Often my kids appear in front of me, not as little human beings, but rather as a three-pack of fluorescent blinking glow sticks that light up the passage of time.
Notable childhood “moments” almost invariably include your child’s first step, their first tooth, or when they move out of their crib and into a real bed. Then there is the experience of learning balance while first riding a bike. And of course birthday celebrations, no matter how many candles are burning.
For whatever reason, the sensation of a time warp doesn’t always rear its ugly head when you’re the one in front of the cake. Sure there is lead up and fanfare and parties even gifts – all of which are predictable in that we anticipate that celebratory day. And yes, with birthdays comes the reminder of age - our standard measuring stick for time.
But for me, none of these life moments are as jaw-dropping, even heart wrenching, as the first day of school. I’m always taken by that shiny lunch box or stylish pair of new ‘kicks coupled with a big smile for that front porch picture.
It is this wrinkle in time that reminds me how fast it’s all rolling. Maybe for me the beginning of school hangs on the innocence of a yellow school bus. I'm enamored by the hand-operated double doors, the chitter-chatter of little people, and the over/under of whether they will take the time to wave goodbye. Regardless of whether my own kiddo’s are on-boarding or I’m sitting behind a random bus, it moves me.
Suddenly, with the click of just 17 front porch, first-day pictures, the innocuous visual of a school bus and its naïve cargo goes poof and I am left standing there speechless, camera in hand, wishing a bus were on it’s way while thinking holy shit, how did 17 years just go by…. “Hey Dad, I’m late for school, where can I find the car keys…”