When I insisted on the first day of school picture for my son this morning, he paused reluctantly before allowing me to take the mandated First Day of School Photograph. I have 35 of these momentos now, collected every autumn as my children headed toward a new academic year. My son has just one more year that I will insist on this photographic record. My daughters have fulfilled their requirement to provide me with this talisman. As they entered college, I, reluctantly, released my daughters from this tradition.
I was ever so pleased when my oldest daughter sent me a text with a photo of her on the morning that she started her senior year at Georgetown. I wasn’t disappointed that my middle child’s first days of freshmen and sophomore years at Pratt Institute didn’t prompt a photo. She had her head down, focused and ready to storm the hallowed halls of higher education. It would be unlike her to pause and photograph that moment. With one more official “first day of school” shot left to the Frank family, it is something of a bittersweet moment. There is every reason to celebrate the children's journeys into adulthood. Yet, an inescapable tug on my heart reminds me that their wings are spread and they will soon be aloft.