Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Bridge to Terabithia

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher read us the book Bridge to Terabithia.  At the end of every day for about fifteen minutes we would sit at our desks and silently soak in her magical world before the bell would break our eager trance.  

It had been a long time since any of us had been read to, because so much emphasis in those years was on us learning to read for ourselves, so being read to was such a rare and refreshing treat.  Our teacher had clearly read the story aloud before.  She was so good at the telling of it.

It was perhaps the last time that anyone read a whole book to me, and it was the first time that I remember crying over a story.  I cried for the characters' inability to stay children forever, and, perhaps unwittingly, I cried for myself for this same reason.  

To me, this book will always signify growing up.

The events of this summer have forced Guy and me to take some fairly significant steps onto our own personal Bridge to Terabithia.  (Or for anyone who has read the book, I guess I should say our Bridge away from our private Terabithia!)  We have lived in a beautiful, perfect world of our own making for so long.  A world of kindness, of self-discovery, a world of loveliness, a world of peace.

I have not been eager to step out of that world, but time stands still for no one, not even Mommies.

Now, I was in fourth grade when I started to have personal experiences with loss and death, but as Guy readies himself for Kindergarten, he has already experienced loss and the death of two friends this summer.  He is so mature for his age and comprehends so much.  I presume that this is a double-edged sword for my little man-child.  This characteristic will both protect him and cause him to carry more than a five-year-old should.  But such is the state of the world these days.  Our children must carry more, earlier than we ever had to.  (But I do believe they came to earth equipped for this challenge!)

As I tucked Guy in to bed this evening, I made the mistake of telling him that I have a special place in my heart where I keep my love for him, and that even if he grows up and no longer wants to snuggle with Mommy anymore, I'd still have that special place where I'll keep all of those special moments in my heart for him.  He started to bawl when I said that.  And then so did I. 

Guy spent most of the day playing with friends, and considerably less time sitting in my lap as I read him Knuffle Bunny.  As much as he loves life and looks forward to the adventures ahead of him, I know he feels the bitter-sweet pull of change, as do I.  

36 more days until the first day of Kindergarten.  Our Kindergarten Countdown Chain is getting shockingly short, but serves as a constant reminder to make the most of our time together.

Tomorrow, we'll be making a list of everything that Guy and I want to do together before school starts, just to make sure that we don't miss anything!

Forestlawn Elementary

When I was home visiting my parents back in February, I decided to take Guy and Scarlett to tour my elementary school to help Guy get pumped up about going to Kindergarten.

I attended Forestlawn Elementary for Kindergarten through 5th grade.  It is less than .3 miles from my home, so we walked to school every day. 

It was neat to go back and see that almost nothing about the building has changed.

If you are still reading...Come have a look with me, won't you?

It'll be quick, I promise!

Same entryway.
(I remember putting on snow boots here in the winter.  In the summertime, they posted the class lists on this window.)

Same lunch tables and benches in the gym that folded up into compartments in the wall.
(I ate many homemade lunches on these tables, thanks to my Mom!)

Same backboards, same mats, same floor.

Same artwork and lunch-lady windows.

Same pencil and notebook dispenser.
(What a thrill that was...putting the quarter in and hoping something fluorescent came out!!
Hello, it was the 80's.)

Same hallway.  There's just one.  Oh, the simplicity of it all.

If these halls could talk.

Tonight during Family Home Evening, Steve and I entertained the kids by telling them all sorts of funny stories from our school days.  For some reason, telling him about the time that I pee'd my pants at school brought Guy to tears with laughter! :)  We assured him that soon he'd have lots of funny school stories of his own to share with us.  Laughing ourselves to tears tonight as a family had a rejuvenating effect on all of us.  

Hand-in-hand, we'll figure life out together, one step at a time.  This is one of the most beautiful things about family.  It is a reassuring truth, and I am so thankful for it!


  1. What grade did you pee your pants? I was in third grade. They didn't have any spare clothes and couldn't get a hold of my mom, so I went home on the bus in old men's polyester plaid pants. Yep. Good times.

  2. I love this post. I remember feeling the same way last year as my girls and I prepared for kinderegarten and all the fear and excitement that come from it. The girls were more prepared than I thought and our fears were quickly replaced by excitment after the first few days. This summer, more than any in the past, I have loved and cherished every day I spend with them as you do with Guy knowing my time is short. These are special times with our sweet babies.
    I love how your elementary hasn't changed and you get to go back. I haven't seen my school in over 30 years but can still see the hallways, the lunch room, the playground and my classroom like it was yesterday. VERY good memories, just like our children will have.

  3. Sweet post. My third child and oldest son enters first grade next month, and I'm so sad to have him gone all day now with my two girls! It reminds me to make the most of our summers and to capitalize on my time with my two youngest boys who have yet to enter the world of school. :)

  4. My old school has grown to a HUGE school. It is now more than one hallway, and I can't even find my way around anymore! BUT, I have met a few of my teachers that are retired now (Oh man, that makes me feel old!) and that is a riot.

    I think one of the most important things we need to do as our children grow up, is reassure them how much we love them. It really is a different world that they grow up in, and they need that assurance.

  5. Bridge to Teribethia is one of my very favorite books. I cry every time I read it. I'm sure it was the first book that ever made me cry.

  6. One year...then I'll cross the bridge.

  7. I went through my old elementary school a few months back, and it is truly a strange experience. You don't feel that old. But it is so much fun.

  8. It's good for our children to see and know our history. And knowing you peed your pants will remind Guy that even parents aren't perfect.


  9. Such a tender post and your Guy is such a tender and loving little boy. How fun that you took him to see where you went to school.

  10. Forestlawn Mustangs,forever.

    I don't know why Guy can't snuggle with his mom until he marries some other woman....and then it's over. But when Jordan kisses to me and calls me 'mama' I'm transported back to those days when I was the only woman in his life. And it's all good....for a moment.

  11. what a great family home evening and way to prepare your kids to go to school and to share with you. Awesome!

  12. My boys have one more year of preschool before I send them off to kinder. I have been thinking a lot about spending this year going over your checklist of "preschool life lessons." Isn't it funny how much we need to teach them BEFORE they go out into the world to be "taught?" :)