Goodbye, White

Labor Day is here, banishing white pants to the back of the closet for another season.  Well, I don’t own any white pants, ’cause my bottom half just doesn’t need that level of attention, so instead I’m writing about other white things that have come and gone.

Goodbye white lace on the baby pillow my mom stitched for me.  I loved you until you were dirty tatters framing the yellow gingham,  Come to think of it, goodbye white stuffing that filled the pillow and in the end came out in puffy lumps through the hole where I loved that pillow too thin.

Goodbye white stephanotis corsage that I wore to a junior prom.  You were so much more beautiful than the red roses all the other girls wore.  Good riddance to the boy that gave me that corsage and didn’t ever talk to me again because I wouldn’t smoke a joint and sleep with him.  Wait, not even good riddance to him.  Just riddance.

Goodbye Saturday morning sweetmilks with mounds of snowy powdered sugar spooned in the middle.  This isn’t so much a goodbye as it is a “See you later on a lazy winter morning.”  I will wipe powdered sugar from my lips and remember wiping my mouth on the corner of Grandpa’s “Kiss Me, I’m Norweigan” apron.

Goodbye white seashells washing ashore in the shadows of the pier.  I keep you in a jam jar on my night stand, remembering the day I last kissed my grandmother.  I can’t wait to walk barefoot in the sand and gather more shells for my jar.

Goodbye white wedding dress, all boxed up on the top shelf in my closet.  I take you down every now and then and blow the dust off the front of the box.  You made me feel like a princess on our wedding day.  You were spotless and new and so was I.  One day I will work up the nerve to free you from your box and wear you around the house.  Until then, wait for me with your satiny train all tucked in.

Goodbye blackberry blossoms, bursting white among the thorns.  It’s time for you to rest, time to pull fall’s burgundy blanket up to your chin as the earth breathes a sigh of relief.  It’s Labor Day and the laboring is done.  For now.

Elvis Has Left The Building

After 31 years of teaching, my mom turned in her yard duty whistle in exchange for a well deserved retirement.  My step-dad invited her closest friends to join her in celebrating her devotion to children.  The house was brimming with long time friends, parents of former students, family, and Elvis.  You heard me: Elvis.  Some random Elvis impersonator, at best an acquaintance of my mom’s, was mistakenly invited by another guest.  (Social Skill Note:  It’s only okay to invite people to a party if you are the actual person throwing the party.)  Thankfully, Elvis did not sing.

As I coast into 70ish days of summer vacation, my mom steps into doing whatever she wants for the rest of her life.  No more early morning yard duty.  No more parent teacher conferences.  No more lesson plans.  No more staff meetings.  No more worrying about budget cuts.  No more calling me and talking about the funny/outrageous/heartwarming thing that happened in her classroom that day.

Sure, I can still call her and tell her about the goings on in my classroom, but I will miss the reciprocity.  My mother dreamed of being a teacher since childhood and so did I.  We have shared this beautiful profession my entire adult life and it’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that come August, only one of us will be sharpening pencils and writing out a new set of desk nametags.  I now live in a world where I teach and my mother taught and it’s kind of a lonely place.  Elvis has only just left the building and I already wish she’d come back.