Every September, sure as clockwork, summer comes to an end and the first morning of school arrives. Lazy days, swimming pools, flip-flops and vacations are exchanged for alarm clocks, book bags, school buses and schedules. In my house, we have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of school. We hate to see summer come to a close, but we love to start a new year, filled with possibilities and friendships.
The moment our daughter started school, we started a tradition. Dressed in her finest first-day outfit, Hannah is photographed with her book bag and gear. She is now in the 12th grade and we have 13 priceless photos (starting with kindergarten) of our baby as she has grown into a young woman. I wish I could say that I started organizing these memories into a photo album 13 years ago, but I did not. Until recently, the images were scattered among hundreds (honestly, thousands) of pictures that I, like many others, kept in shoeboxes. When I started searching to recover all 13 images, I was grateful to discover that some magically appeared in frames behind other pictures, while others rested patiently in their boxes. Excavating them was a wonderful journey through our life, and I was reminded of the people and events that have made it so special. Each of Hannah's pictures reflects a step in her life. The other photographs showed me the road we'd all taken together.