Labor Day – The unofficial end of summer. The time by which we need to have new school clothes and supplies. The time to begin meeting new teachers and new friends.
The time to what? Watch with tear-filled eyes as the bus picks up other children for school, but no longer stops by our house. To see other parents standing with their eager little ones, waiting for that first school bus ride to the “big” school. To see tears of joy in the eyes of other parents through the tears of pain in our own.
Watch with anxious anticipation as the kids begin middle school. New experiences, new expectations, new fears. Time to wonder if we told them enough to keep them safe from peer pressure. Time to wonder if we are giving them too much freedom or not enough. Time to learn that saying “I love you” must be done in private. Time to realize that with us, “I love you” will always be said in silence.
Time to watch our teenagers experience high school and its freedoms and decisions. Time to hand over the sports coaching to someone we don’t know. Time to wonder if our child is taking too many academic hours. Time to wonder what temptations await our children. Time to wonder about that car they bought. Time to realize all these things are happening to some other parent.
Time to buy single bed linens for the college dorm. Time to buy a new computer to take to school and keep the old one for us. Time to get an extra credit card for the student, “just in case.” Time to give last minute instructions about calling home every Sunday night. Time to listen to other parents talk about these experiences.
No, for us, Labor Day is just that – a day to labor through the memories left behind by the loss of our child, a day that truly signifies the end of the summer of our life.
Written by Sondra Wright, TCF/Atlanta Chapter
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