Christmas was over. The kids had finally gone back to school and I was home alone. I stood working in the quiet reminiscing about Christmas as I packed it away. I was putting our first snow globe back into the china cabinet when I started to to have a “first time” memory. It was the first time my kids had seen a snow globe.
It was a school day and most importantly it was a snow day. The kids got up early racing and screaming and searching for hats and mittens and boots and coats. Out the door squealing in laughter they ran to the driveway to find some ice. The sun was shining while tiny snowflakes were still drifting in the air. Barely enough snow to make one snowball the kids managed to make two and form a ten inch snowman. There were kids throwing snow in the streets, kids jumping on the trampoline in the backyard, and kids making snow angels mingled with dead grass in the front. All the kids come out on a snow day. My kids finally came slopping back in for the last time around 4pm smelling like what wet kids playing outdoors in the snow smell like. With their chapped-dry cheeks, wet, cold noses and static-flung hair, they both shook the snow globe and peered with wonder into it’s magical world. A magical world just like that day.
Drifting back from this memory to what I was putting up on a shelf, I realized that one-by-one all those memories of their childhood were slowly, but most assuredly coming to an end. Even though that day is frozen solid in my memory and it seems like just yesterday, there are others that I have already forgotten. The dates. The days. The years. On that day, I realized that in just a few years my children would be driving away to college, and then to a new city and to a new life. They would be making their own memories now.
I put down the snow globe and picked up my guitar and started singing to myself about what I was feeling. Within a few minutes it formed into a song that would be fit for others to hear, but I have a hard time singing it on stage. It was meant for me.
When I made the video, it was important to me to use actual footage of my daughter driving herself to school for the first time. All the footage is ours. Mine. Theirs. We have a lot of home videos of the “first” things. The first “day” they walked. The first “time” they lost a tooth. The first “day” of school. There will always be first things. Like the first day the movers came to pack up all my daughters belongings. Even when she was away at college she still had her things in her room. The day had come. She was officially moving out. It was also the first time I had sobbed so hard on the front lawn that my neighbors thought someone had died. It was the first time her room was completely empty. I mean all the way empty. All I could think about on that day were all of the “last” things. When was the last time I sang her to sleep? When was the last time I tucked her into bed. When was the last time I kissed her forehead. When was the last time she called me Mommy. It was and is still the most conflicting feeling. The firsts and the lasts. I didn’t want her to leave, yet I was so proud she could and I was so grateful that she was still alive to leave.
We had another first this Thankgsgiving when she came home from being officially moved out and on her own. I mean truly alone. In a strange big city. No friends. No roommates. No teachers. No classmates. She drove for three days to get here. She walked into the front door exhausted, plopped her things on the floor and grabbed me. This time she sobbed. For the first time. For the first time she realized she could always come home. We all stood there sobbing, even my son who is also away at college now too. The house is quiet. Really, really quiet. Especially at night. I miss walking down to the end of the hall and seeing them sleeping. No more ordering and tucking them into bed. No more goodnight mom. No more goodnight kisses.
For my children and for all of you wherever you are in this world this holiday season:
May you be safe in your adventures. May you love yourself as an equal to others. May you love others as an equal to yourself. May you have peace in your heart and in your homes and at work and at play. May your mind and your heart and your body be at peace with all. Be true to yourself and to others.
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