Thank you for reminding me of when my children started school. I still have the pictures of them waiting for the bus to come. They were dressed in their first school day clothes, hair combed, bathed and clean smelling. A few years ago I ran into the bus driver and she wanted to know how my children were doing and where they were living now. Yes, first school day pictures are special.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words...
... and that might very well be true, but that doesn't even begin to really capture both the memories and the emotions a picture can evoke...
I took this picture of my son, Alec, waiting in line with the rest of his grade one class to enter a brand new school, St. Paul's in Alliston, last September. It really didn't seem in any way to be that special, hus grade one class was waiting in line outside prepared to enter their new classroom in their new school... but it has grown on me.
For you to begin to understand just what this picture evokes in me, I must tell you the "rest of the story"...
My wife, Helen insisted that I be there on the first day of school. I did not want to go. Alec had already been to the first day of Junior Kindergarten, and then again to the first day of Senior Kindergarten. What could be so special on this day?
I told her that no one accompanied me to my school on any first day of school, and that I didn't want to waste my time. Now Helen is a teacher and has seen the faces and the reactions of many children on the first day of school. She told me that my parents would have been there if they could, and that she couldn't be there, but that in my business, Real Estate, I could make the time available to be there for Alec that morning, and that I should be there for Alec.
I guess at that time, I remembered my thoughts about his Senior Kindergarten graduation... that was another "bah, humbug" event that I did not want to go to, that my wife insisted that I be there, and I remembered that I was overcome by the emotion of it all... kindergarten graduation
As I have grown older, I realize that there are times that a husband is just not going to win the argument, especially when he might be wrong... I cannot remember just how long I tried to argue before I relented.... but I did. My compromise was that I would not take him to school, I would drop him at his daycare, and then watch from a distance as he boarded his school bus, and then would be there at his school when his bus arrived.
I saw Alec get on the bus and then drove to his new school and parked my car where I had a good overview of the yard, and hunkered down irritated that my wife was making me waste this time...
I saw the bus finally arrive and the children disembark. Alec started walking across the front of the yard and I saw this look on his face and everything changed... He looked like a deer in the headlights, worried, unsure. Fatherhood instincts that I was unaware I possessed took over. I quickly got out of the car, and made my way to him. He was slowly moving with the crowd, and I will never forget the way his face lit up when he saw me... he ran to me and gave me the biggest hug. It is moments like this that you treasure as a parent.
At that moment, I understood what Helen was telling me. In Junior and Senior Kindergarten, the children are segregated from the rest of the population and integrated into their classrooms a few children at a time. In Grade One, you are treated like all the other children. We made our way to his teachers area and I saw a classmate who was in tears, and again I realized that thanks to my wife, this was not Alec, not today... I comforted him and invited him to join us and he held Alec's hand and I realized just how wise my wife was...
This picture was taken much later, after they had met their teacher and were in a line up, about to enter their new school and their new classroom. The looks on the individual children, each one different and each look telling its own story. At the time I took this picture, all I was concentrating on was my son, Alec, fifth in line in the picture above, third in the cropped close-ups below...
This is not a "great" picture, it was by far not even the "best" picture I took that day... but as I look at the faces of the children, I can imagine their emotions... I can recall long forgotten memories of me as a child in situations where I can imagine similar looks on my face. Its funny how this simple picture, an afterthought taken quickly as I was about to leave has become my KODAK moment... and the memories it brings back to me of Alec's first day in Grade One in a brand new school. Alec's memory of that day is seeing me in the crowd for the first time, he has forgotten that he was terrified at the very moment before he saw me... What do you see in their faces?.
This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain 'Kodak Moments' contest. I have the chance to win the KODAK EASYSHARE M580 Digital Camera To participate in the ActiveRain contest, visit the blog post announcing the contest from Kodak and ActiveRain.
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage