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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My First Day of School: Fifth Grade

In honor of the first day of school here in Richmond and as kind of a follow up to my wildly embarrassing My First Day of School Post from this past spring, here's little old me on the first day of fifth grade. Let's get the embarrassing stuff out of the way first......

  • Yes, I was in the safety patrol. We were a motley crew of fourth and fifth graders tasked with protecting the safety of our elementary school. James Bond himself would have been impressed with the intensity we brought to our missions. These dangerous tasks included helping the younger kids cross the main road to get to school, stopping others from running in the halls and raising the flags in the morning. I was supposed to turn in my badge when I left for middle school but I actually kept it as a memento. Shhhhh.....don't tell anyone:).
  • Yes, I'm wearing a 17th Street Surf Shop T-Shirt. That was all the rage back then in Richmond. You were absolutely no one unless you had an assorted collection. None of us had ever surfed or even met one for that matter, but we felt very attuned to the surfer vibe and the shirt really added to our mystique.
  • Yes, my left arm is in a cast. About a month prior I took quite a tumble at the roller skating rink (I told you I was cool) and cracked my wrist. The cast caused me quite a bit of drama though. Over the summer I was very enamoured with a boy at our local pool so of course I wrote "I love (his name)" on my cast with a giant heart around it. I should mention that subtlety is also one of my strong suits. This public declaration was ill-timed however because the cast wasn't coming off until October and come September my affections had turned in another adorable skater-boy with freckles.....and a different name:). Whoops! I had some explaining to do on the playground to save our relationship. 
  • And yes, if the camera had captured my feet you would see that I was wearing New Kids on The Block shoe laces. I think the humiliation is pretty obvious with that one and I don't need to help you out here.

On to the serious stuff....

If you read this blog on a regular basis you know I often muse about mistakes and life lessons so it should come as no surprise that I have something I wish I could tell her. Run down the hill.....

Last week I was on staycation and I spent an afternoon at VMFA enjoying the cafe and the sunshine outside. I was taking some pictures from a small hill on the grounds and happened to be in ear-shot of a family nearby. The mother said it was time to go and the daughter, who was probably in middle school, said ok and promptly started running full speed down the hill. I wish I had taken her photo but I was too mesmerized. She looked absolutely free. I felt envy and thought...I never would have done that at her age. I would have politely taken the actual path that led down the hill, too worried about what other people would have thought of my boisterous gallop.

You see sometimes I feel like Benjamin Button, like I'm aging in reverse. I worried so much at that age, about everything, but making mistakes most of all. I would have been far too embarrassed to run down that hill for fear of falling and someone laughing at me. I probably missed out on a lot of good times, and possible run-ins with the law, by being a little too safe all the time. As I get older though somehow that little girl and I are meeting in the middle and now I could care less what anyone thinks if I don't take the safe path down.

Absolutely inspired, I put down my camera, took off my flip flops and ran down that hill. Was it graceful? Not really. Did I perhaps pull a muscle? Probably. Who cares?! It felt damn good!

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