Back to school…
It was a time for new pencils and crayons, each one with my name carefully hand written on them, Lisa Frank folders and TrapperKeepers, Rainbow Brite lunch boxes and new gym shoes.
It was new beginnings. Fresh starts.
But back to school time in my day was more than just new supplies, new kicks, and a new teacher.
It was about new memories to be made!
If you were to ask any of our childhood friends growing up what they remember about my Dad, I can almost guarantee you that they would say they could recount how on the first day of school he always had a camcorder glued to his shoulder.
It was simply tradition.
That first day of school was like Christmas to my Dad.
And every year, on that first day of school we’d take pictures outside the house and my Dad would get out his camcorder and ask us three questions: What day is it? What grade are you going into? and Who’s your teacher going to be?
We kept our answers brief, never giving more information than absolutely necessary.
Then after Mom would buzz past us giving us two toot-toots of her horn and a big wave, we’d proceed to walk or ride our bikes to school . Once we got there, we’d head into our classrooms to find a camera-shy teacher hesitantly ready to greet us and welcome us inside. Being famous for bringing the camcorder every year, I can only imagine how excited the teachers were to be having us in their class that year, knowing what they were in store for that first day. Filming it all, as to not miss a moment, he’d document as much as we’d let him on that first day of school. And every year it got a little more embarrassing. I can remember whenever we were being silly or inappropriate (which was usually Dustin!), basically doing something Dad didn’t find cute or funny, he’d always get frustrated and remind us that “this is for all posterity!”
For all posterity.
Posterity, all future generations of people.
God offered Abraham a posterity like the stars of heaven.
“And I will make your descendants to multiply as the stars of the heavens, and will give to your posterity all these lands; and by your Offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, or by Him bless themselves”(Genesis 26:4)
My Dad was offering us a posterity of memories.
Moments. Little nuggets to hold onto and look back on one day, smiling through tears, and say, “Remember that time when…”
Remember that time when Mom plopped a nearly 3 month old baby Ashley in the front seat of the car before heading off to school because apparently we didn’t use car seats back then?
Remember when Dustin was going into 2nd grade and when asked who his teacher was going to be he said, “Mrs. Feeney Weeney who wears a bikini!”
Remember when stirrup leggings and backpacks with big Cabbage Patch heads on the back were cool?
Remember when I was going off to high school and he really wanted to walk with me to the bus stop up at the Community Building but I wouldn’t let him?
I had forgotten.
That is until we whipped out the old home videos and found the one VHS tape…the one which he had to find every school year so as to keep all of our first days of school in chronological order.
Why did he do it? Every year. Every stinkin’ year, taking off work that first day of school, digging out that big, bulky camcorder to ask us the same exact questions he had done the previous year, and the year before that, and the one before that, and so on. Licking his fingers, combing down his hair, using the reflection from the Astro Van window to make sure he looked nice… for all posterity.
And now here I am, a mom with kids in school. Why did I not start that same tradition with them starting in Kindergarten?
I regret it now. But thankfully it’s never too late to start something new.
New school years. New memories. New opportunities to create little nuggets that they will remember and hopefully cherish for all posterity someday. But for now, I’m left for all of posterity with the memories of what a great Dad I was blessed to have growing up.
Thank you God for blessing me with a Dad who wasn’t camera shy, who loved making and documenting memories, and for leaving us a treasure trove of old home movies to watch and reminisce on all the fun we had being the Roberts family.