Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Stay Gold

By Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf's a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay. 

I felt myself wanting to hold onto this summer break so much more than other summers and I literally tried my best to suck every last breath out of it before it ended. 
My youngest son started Kindergarten this week, and, as we all know, they must grow up, but, I felt myself emotionally pulling him back so he could just stay a little longer with me. I knew it would be hard to let the last one go but, admittedly, it did tear me up more than I expected. However, he was curious, confident, and ready. I was grateful to see it and comforted even more to know it as I let him go. There will be many doors he walks through in life and many I will not get to see him enter, so, I did cherish this door and what it will lead him to. 
Now shifting in the other direction, my oldest son began his second year of middle school. We went to pick up his schedule and meet his teachers. My favorite subject was English and I found myself lingering in his Language Arts Teacher's classroom a little longer than the rest. As I maneuvered through the crowded room, I made my way to a table off to the side with books she had laid out. It was a collection from all genres that they would be reading this year in her class. I saw The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton displayed among the others and my heart fluttered. 
I gently picked it up and it immediately brought me back to being his age and discovering that story. It was this very book that planted the seed of storytelling in me and inspired me to write. How social and economic factors define and separate us, the common need to connect and belong, coming to terms with fear, love, and sorrow. It was the deepest and most meaningful messages I had ever read by that age. I clung to every word and savored each page from beginning to end. I was at the right age and it was the story I had been longing for. From there, it opened my mind and my heart to what it was like to use your words to communicate in such a touching way. All of the ink I have put to paper, the stories I have told, the words I have typed in this blog, all started when my passion was lit by this book. Writing inspires and heals me, clears my mind and frees my thoughts. It is something that has stuck with me my whole life, and, undoubtedly, always will. 
I held the small paperback dearly for a moment and told my son that "I read this and it was my favorite book when I was your age," I wanted to say "stay gold" and remind him to "do it for Johnny" but I left it at that. No need to embarrass him or yank him down my memory lane.
For the rest of the day, I bathed in the nostalgia of that book and a treasured time in my life. I thought about the converse high tops and jean jacket I used to wear.  I wondered if I could still quote every line from the movie they made based on the book and I yearned to hear Stevie Wonder singing the movie's theme song over and over again in my ear.  Girls always secretly love the bad boys...Why didn't I like Dallas Winston the most? No, he wasn't for me. My heart belonged to Pony Boy and I truly believed he would stay gold. To me, it meant holding on to your innocence,not letting the ugliness of life tarnish you, and always staying true to yourself. Something I could relate to. Yes, my heart would still belong to Pony Boy. Sorry, Dallas.
This reflection of me at his age inspired me about his year and what was ahead for him. So, it is my hope that my son remains true to himself and that he finds his spark in life that lights his passion. May his flame never go out and may he always stay gold.
Whether it is watching new doors open or the unexpected enjoyment of sweet nostalgia, I feel myself appreciating these special moments more deeply now and I am thankful as they are given to me.

What was your age of discovery? Is there a passion you have maintained?

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