What is that Sound?

by Diane Sweeney on August 27, 2013

back_to_school_bannerI heard it yesterday morning. The familiar sound of the squeak and whoosh of the air brakes of a school bus. Here in Chester County, PA, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, school has started again for thousands of elementary, middle school and high school students. 

As I sipped my morning coffee, I closed my eyes and remembered the 16+ years of first school mornings that occurred in this house for my two boys. Those first years of putting them on the school bus – they seemed so small! And then waiting for them to come off with their big smile and latest art project in their hand. Precious days! 

Moving into the higher grades, the tug of war about homework and priorities, and always the never ending whir of activity of science projects, Cub Scouts and Pinewood derbies, tennis, baseball, basketball, early to school for chess club, stay late for juggling class (yes, really!), band practice, band camp, band performances, more sport practices, parent meetings, and the endless volunteering (that, yes, I had raised my hand for – no complaining allowed). And even when they could drive themselves to most of it – it still was all consuming. (And I only had two – God bless those of you with more!) 

When you are in the midst of it all, you think it will never end. You wonder when you will breathe again, when you will not run out of the house with a perpetual list in one hand, and snacks, late lunches, or a a sports equipment bag in the other. You long for the day when you can actually sip your coffee or tea, plan your day and stick to it, and not have to ‘run’ into the grocery store before or after work for something swear you stocked up on yesterday! 

For some of you – that day of longing has arrived. Everyone is gone – off to college, or jobs in other cities, or maybe across town in another apartment. And while you waited for this day for what seemed like FOREVER, it doesn’t seem as sweet as you thought it would be. 

Of course, you are enjoying the fact that you can finish a whole cup of coffee while it’s still hot. And when you come home from work, unlike when your kids got home before you, your house is still in order.  But, as you too might hear the sound of the school bus outside of your window, you wistfully remember those days and think, “They really weren’t that bad.” 

And they weren’t. Thos days were life being lived.


“A little act done for love is worth so much” 

~St. Josemarie Escriva

Each and every one of those days created the foundation of your children’s lives. Even those days that were not “Leave it to Beaver” perfect, they are in that groundwork too.  All of those moments created the life which your children will always call their childhood. Some will be recalled fondly, some of the not so fond ones will soften in their memories, and many will be forgotten except for when pictures, stories at family reunions, or a familiar song or phrase heard on the street, will bring them back to life.


It is the story of




and each member owns it. No one else can change any of the life that you and your family have lived and experienced together. One family, one unit.

Breathe it in, remember it, celebrate it and log it all in scrapbooks and journals. (or if you are like me, in big plastic tubs!)

And then step back and celebrate that a new chapter is opening, one you may have more control over. Now, as they go off to college, jobs, marriages and lives of their own, the canvas becomes a little cleaner, (although not always more clear) and you can begin to create the next episode in the life of








This is your time to create the vision for a life for the still one unit, but separate lives of you, you and your spouse, and your family. You’ve come a long, long way, realized successes and have raised incredible human beings that are going to make a difference in this world.

You too, will continue to be significant to your family, your job and the community in which you live.

Listen to your heart and start your first day of ‘school’ ….there’s still so much to learn and do!


Did your family have a first day of school tradition? Share with us at my Facebook page! We’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave your comment!










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