Every year I take the kids back to school shopping for new supplies. I usually despise shopping, but I love this particular trip, as I am hot for office supply stores and the wares they peddle. I can’t really explain it, but I can tell you that I get a little tingly every time I go down the padded envelope aisle. And I have a thing for 5″ X 8″ notepads too. I like to touch the paper. My favorite thing is the sound it makes when I fan the pages. It’s like a magical purring noise. “Puuuuurrrrrrrrr.” So sexy. But I digress.
Anyway, each August the kids come with me to Staples and Target to pick out new folders and notebooks and binders. The younger ones also get rulers and scissors and crayons and index cards. And everyone gets a new box of markers. Now, some are classic colors and some are dry erase, some are highlighters and some are washable. None of them are actually called “magic” anymore, but to me they will always be magical and special, because they mark another important milestone in each kid’s life… the start of a brand new school year.
This year the markers led me to thinking about other milestones in my life and the kids’ lives and how quickly time is passing. This summer, in particular, seemed to whiz past us in a spectacle of raindrops and road trips and beach sand. It marked the first summer we didn’t get to relax together as a family (until one week near the very end, which was pretty awesome).
I realized that this marks the last year that all five of my kids will be heading out the door on the first day of school together. Kid A is starting her senior year in high school. Next year she will be off at college, starting her own life with some pretty significant new markers of her own.
Then I realized that Kid E still has twelve more “first days of school” ahead of him. He is not thrilled about this, especially because “school does not have very much Minecraft.” Sorry, kid.
Kid B started high school this year – a big marker made complicated because her boyfriend also started, but at a different high school.
This is the year that Kid C started dancing en pointe in ballet. Kid D will begin kid-pitch in baseball next week. They are in 7th and 3rd grades, respectively, which can be full of all kinds of markers… middle school relationship drama, puberty, playground fights.
Sheepdog and I made it to the 20-year mark of marriage this summer.
And today marks exactly three months since Braden died.
So many markers. Not all of them are magic. And not all of them are huge. But together they become the stories that make up our lives. So I write them down and take pictures on film and in my mind so we won’t forget. And we can look back on them and remember each one of the markers and what they meant to us at that time in our lives. And they will shape us and affect us and make us who we are. But they can also inspire us to make change, to do more and be more, if that is what we want. So much possibility can come from those markers, big or small.
And that is truly magical. Just like the purr of a good notepad.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…