I want to be totally honest with you, like I always am. This month, we've been asked to write about going back to school since it's a topic fresh on most people's minds. For parents, the overhwelming freedom of not having to figure out the childcare situation for 3 months or pay ridiclulous amounts of money for every type of camp imaginable and their story would perhaps be a satire about their relief. For child-free me, it's avoiding driving into work when the school buses are stop-and-go-ing every 5 feet from one end of the 4 mile single lane back-road I take to the other and my story would be a reflection on my personal back-to-school history.
My honest moment with you is this: I wracked my brain for any memory of going back to school from my beloved summers and I came up with nothing. I don't remember. My memory isn't the best, but I blame it on the fact that my gradeschool years were unremarkable in the best and worst ways - the best being that no great tragedy occurred scarring me for life, the worst being that I was not deemed a child prodigy and known amogst my peers as someone. I was no one special to them. But, if I'm being honest, I was happy to be left alone.
In any case, grand memories aside, I do remember my beloved tin Strawberry Shortcake lunch box. The original tin lunch box with the matching plastic thermos. My dad would boil chicken broth and put it in the thermos with a hot dog so that I could have a nice hot lunch, sans bun (I was not into buns... this was before refined carbs were the devil). Sometimes, if it was in season, he would put an ear of corn in there and I'd have hot corn on the cob from my thermos. Best lunch box ever.
Here's the exact one being sold on eBay currently... incidentally this looks suspiciously like my parent's old 80's couch too but I checked who the seller is and they're not yet pawning my childhood stuff online for profit. I wouldn't put it past them.
I don't even remember my first day of undergrad at Virginia Tech. I have memories of moving into the dorms and meeting my roommate and hallmates, but the actual school part? Nada. Except that I was never someone who resisted change. I was always totally fine with it. I never missed home. I thought that was because I didn't really have anything of substance there, except for Amanda, but I don't think that's it. I just don't get anxiety about change, plain and simple. I accept whatever situation and conditions I am in or will be in and work with it, whatever it is.
I now can look back at all of my first days and see this pattern of behavior. From jumping on the school bus for the first time ever and saying "See ya!" to my parents, to going away to college, to moving up to Northern Virginia after my 5 years at Tech, to starting graduate school at GW while working full time... it was never any problem to just go and more shockingly, to never look back and never miss it. I don't know yet what that means about me, if it's a good or bad thing. There are obvious advantages, but I don't discount the value of sentimentality and feeling deeply connected to things. I am changing and growing some roots now that would be truly painful to extricate.
One of my favorite song lyrics is from the recent One Republic song I Lived - - I hope you fall in love and it hurts so bad. It reflects the state of whole-mind-body-soul-ness that I desire. I'm still working on going deeper and deeper with that. My firsts will be more memorable, my lasts will be more emotional, I will love my life so much that it hurts.