It’s back-to-school season! Several years ago, in this very column, I had written about the bittersweet moment when my son had em-barked on his first day of his senior year of high school. As I watched him leave, in his own car, I recalled the moment I had watched him climb aboard the school bus for the first time at age 6 with his crisp new clothes, squeaky sneakers and a backpack equipped with all the necessary tools.
That day he drove away for senior year, he turned and waved to me just the way he had when he rode the bus. He was always ready for first days and new adventures. I wasn’t.
After experiencing the exact moments with my daughter years prior, you would think I’d be a pro at first day milestones. I wasn’t. I’m still not. I’m the mom with the tissues secretly wishing I could pause time.
Through the years, my kids each had carried a bit of me with them to school every day — in their backpacks! (No, I didn’t include a photo of myself!) I spent a lot of time meticulously prepping backpacks. It was my routine. I left notes, treats or small trinkets inside. I especially took great pride in including books my kids had selected or loved.
The backpack was my personal daily connection to my child’s progress and education. Now, my kids are grown. My daughter is the mother of three wonderful boys. My son is 23 years old and he works full time as a sales leader for a consumer electronics retailer.
I didn’t know then, all those years ago when my kids were growing
up, that the backpack routine would become a family legacy. My son still rarely leaves the house without a backpack that he preps with his work stuff and his lunch. My daughter spends her evenings during the school year organizing my grandsons’ backpacks with all the necessary supplies and books to read.
I’m that mom, the mom who established a healthy habit — the responsi-bility of a backpack stocked with the daily tools needed to succeed. I may not handle milestones without a tissue, but I sure know how to rock the backpack!
As many kids are heading to their first day of school, I’d like to share a few books that had traveled in my children’s backpacks throughout their younger elementary grades. Until next time, cherish the moments and spend some time getting to know your child’s backpack!