Laura Sandefer

September 4, 2012

The first day of school. So much is held within those few words. Memories. Fears. Dreams. Embarrassment. Relief. Worry. Joy. Wonderment.

Try as I may not to do this, I am quite sure I project my own emotions about this day onto my children. I was often the “new kid” at schools across the country. I can tell you what I wore, what was in my lunch and who talked to me. I actually remember the breath of my second grade teacher. Details. Our children carry around so much within them. They take so much in. This is one of those days.

Now I sit in quiet as all the children have finally arrived here at Acton for the first day of a new year. It’s 9:30am and the middle school students already have walked down their hero’s path into their new classroom. They are launching into their core skills work. The elementary students are deep into the challenge of creating a lip dub.

Such bravery. Such excitement. I hope we, as parents, can let the start of school take time. New experiences take time to seep into minds and souls. I hope we don’t jump to nervous conclusions after the first day. I hope we let our children find their way with friends, guides and even themselves. Let’s take our time and wait for the children. This journey is purposeful and very daily.

The song the elementary students are memorizing today is “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. As I listened with them, I realized that these words are good for us parents today. Because, we, too, have started a journey. As we let our children take brave new steps into the world, we may need to lean on someone so that we are strong for our children. They want to own this day and will have many stories to share. Or they may want to be quiet and you won’t hear much yet. The best we can do today is wait and listen to our children without offering advice or input. Or simply be with them in the quiet. But to do either of these things freely, we must be clear and strong ourselves.

These words help me and I hope they at least give you something good to hum today. Enjoy and thank you for the gift of today. Your children are beautiful.

Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show
You just call on me brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’d understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you have to bear
That you can’t carry
I’m right up the road
I’ll share your load
If you just call me

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