There is a corner that I ride past each morning where I often see a little boy going off to school. His mother watches from the front porch as he makes his way to the curb and steps onto the bus. One morning I saw her holding the family cat up, waving its little paw farewell. On another cloudier day, I watched as mom sank to her knees just outside the front door as she blew kisses to her son. It's not often that a sight jostles my cynical heart, but this did the job.
I remember my son's first day of preschool. More to the point, I remember getting ready to go off to work at my own school as my wife prepared to send him off into the cold hard world. We have a picture of him, standing at the top of the front stairs, looking back over his shoulder with his little horse backpack loaded up with all the things he might need for the next five hours. The thought of it brings a smile even now as he trudges up the hill to seventh grade to encounter all the excitement and danger that awaits him there.
This weekend, he will be attending two days of "college classes" at Stanford. He'll carry a lunch packed by his mother and myself. Back in the days of Peter Pan Co-op Preschool he didn't carry a cell phone. Mom was there, helping all the kids carry their three-wheel bikes to the top of the hill. His horse backpack has been replaced by a more futuristic version in the style of his beloved Bionicles. And his father has insisted that he wear his Cal sweatshirt.