Nostalgia over Little Things

In the basement of our library, where the tweens and teens are meant to hang out at high-top tables, there is a pile of extreme dot-to-dots. Think over 400 numbers on an 8”x 11” piece of paper. Liam and I landed at one of these tables a few weeks ago. While he did homework, I tried a dot-to-dot. With my contacts in and no reading classes, the eye strain was fierce. Today, my head is in that 400+ dot arena. Each dot a tiny speck of a story that would link well with a few other scattered dots. Brilliant fall colors lining the streets. A weekend away in Rockport, MA, celebrating our 23-year wedding anniversary. Nostalgia over the ceremony that pulled so many family and friends to one place. The way life changes – major and microscopic – land us in the very chair we sit today. Whether working at a desk, reading the paper in a comfy chair, discussing our world over coffee, or waiting in the driver’s seat of a van.

So much of life to write about, yet I can’t move past this dot: a spot outside the boys’ old school where I parked my van – 5 days a week, for roughly 9 months over 6 years. Will and Liam talk nostalgically about the school where they spent their early years, remember the changes and challenges as they got older, then release the nostalgia and justify where they are today. That often happens in three sentences. I spend more time paddling in the nostalgia – the sweetness of early elementary school and the pain of change.

Now, the Malcolm school livery service, split between Bill and me, is much different: two different schools, both with quick morning drop-and-go and afternoon pick-up-and-leave procedures. At the old school, we went to the boys' classrooms to pick them up. That could take a half hour. I covet the new livery procedures but miss my old parking spot for pick-up. It was four feet from a garbage can.

If I was meeting another parent a little early before picking up, the where-shall-I-meet-you question was easy to answer. By the garbage can, but I didn’t park there because it was a landmark. I counted on that parking spot to clear garbage from my van. With the ease of a drive through, I regularly deposited van trash there. That’s all gone now with the pick-up-and-leave scenarios.

Occasionally, I spot public garbage cans and take advantage of those. Yesterday, I ran to Party City for Halloween supplies. Just beyond the entrance was a big trash can. Glancing down at the stuffed door pocket, I gathered the garbage up, kicked the door shut, and walked toward the garbage can. Then, an older gentleman opened and held the Party City door for me. I looked at him and thought, “Can’t you see I’m going to the trash can? I’m clutching empty water bottles, scraps of paper, and granola bar wrappers!” I gave a smile of thanks and nodded to the garbage can behind him. He acknowledged my nod with a funny little nod of his own.

I miss the privacy and convenience of my old trash can.

Happy Hump Day and Happy Fall.