I held Lola’s hand to cross a busy street in Milwaukee. As I hurried her along, she said, “Mom, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. We go slow in the country.” I immediately smiled at her words. I don’t know where she has heard that phrase, but I do know that she was speaking the truth. No matter where she is, now or in the future, she is a country girl. I was so proud to hear those words, at that time, and in that place. What my little daughter’s words reminded me was that fact that the things we instill in our children stay with them no matter where they go, or how far away they are from home…or from us.
August is a bittersweet time. Summer is nearing an end and school begins again. August has always felt like the true “New Year” to me. August is a time for new beginnings, fresh starts, new friends, new clothes, and new yellow #2 pencils. As a child, I loved back-to-school shopping. My paternal grandma took me shopping each year for a new first day of school outfit. It made me feel so special and so ready to learn. I continued the tradition with my own children. Back-to-school shopping is still a family favorite.
Lola’s first day of school was last week. The night before her first day, T and I accompanied her to her new classroom for “Backpack Night.” Each student selects their desk and arranges their school supplies in readiness for class the following morning. I love this tradition, because it eliminates the unknown and the butterflies in the tummies of so many students. They get a chance to meet their teacher with Mom and Dad along for moral support. That evening as T and I stood in the halls of the same elementary school we attended as children, I realized that this was our 19th straight year as parents of a child in this school. Wow!
On Saturday morning, we were off to Milwaukee to take Luke back to school. It was a pleasure to have him home for the summer, and we’re truly going to miss having him around. Once again, T and I must adjust to a nest that is a bit emptier. It is a good thing, though, to see our son growing into an adult, to see his focus, and his drive. T was especially missing Luke this morning as he went off to work. Luke worked for T over the summer, so he will be missed on the job as well.
When I came home this evening, there was no big boy with his legs draped across the coffee table waiting to talk about his day. I wondered what my son was doing right then so many miles away. I tried to picture him in his new surroundings, and I knew he was happy and excited to be beginning a new school year. He was exactly where he wanted to be. I also knew something else. I know that he carries with him a part of this place we all call home.