Ahhh...it's officially summer! At this time in the year, we teachers are often able to tend to overlooked business of the house and home. We can paint a little more, clean a little more, read a little more and play a little more. My first order of business every summer is the cleaning and excavating of our closets. Lots can be uncovered in the heaps and piles collected on the floors and there is much to be sorted through and emptied. It is the time of year that I give our storage areas a breath of fresh air. You could say that I let the closets take in a collective deep breath before the overflow in the new school year. It is cathartic..the yearly unloading and cleaning of our small cottage...everything around us on the outside can fill up to the brim...but in here we are happy and free with our nicely cleaned closets and shelves.
Something very different happened this year....
My objective today was cleaning my sons closet. It is, by far, in the worst condition. Sorting, tossing, cleaning, wiping and passing down to the two year old had commenced...with a fury. First, his backpack needed to be emptied and cleaned.
Background on this ritual:
Austin has had the same backpack since prekindergarten. With not two nickles to rub together for heat at the time when I bought it, the $12.99 plus monogramming and shipping that I paid for it was a pretty big expense. However, it was Pottery Barn for Kids, on huge markdown and I knew their stuff lasted!(we had no idea how long though)
This has been his backpack since then! Yes! Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade....this has been it. Needless to say, I have become somewhat attached....as the years have gone by in a poof and my baby has grown from naps to solving division problems in school, the one constant has been that durn backpack....
Today, I began to put it up on its shelf(yes it has its own)so it will be ready to be picked up again in August. He stopped me. "Mom, you can toss my backpack...I've had it long enough."
all that I could do was squeak out a simple, "What? Why?"
and his response to me?
"Fourth graders don't carry backpacks with their names on them. That could get you killed in the Fourth grade!"
Doesn't he know that this bag has been the one constant in his education aside from him....that every note, every piece of homework and project has booked passage to his schools through it? How could he do this! How could he grow up so fast! I am not ready! He may be! I am definitely not! Every year, his school supplies have made their way safely to his desk. Every year, I have packed this bag away lovingly so that he will have it and carry it...Each year, the boy has changed but the backpack is still the same...it has made his growing up seem more bearable...Doesn't he know it? How can we just "toss it"?
I took some pictures to remember. I will miss it sitting in its rightful place by our front door. I will miss walking in from the store and seeing it open and by that, knowing that he is sitting in his room doing his homework. I will miss the smell. It may be hard to put something else to put on "its" shelf. The things I will hold onto though are the memories. The memory of my precious boy walking away from my car and up to school with that durn old bag waving goodbye and telling me that everything is going to be ok this year...your boy's got this...and I've got the books...
I still need some convincing of the purchase of a new backpack..for now,I am looking into some patches.