The last few days have been melancholy ones. While others scrambled to get their kids ready for school, things were calm and uneventful at my house. They were at Wal-Mart picking up school supplies and at the mall buying clothes. They studied bus schedules and confirmed after school plans. Today, they dug for change for school snacks and lunches and sent checks for parking passes and spirit t-shirts. They came in to work late after waiting in that horrid first day of school car rider line or struggling to find a parking place to walk their child to class. All day they wondered how the first day was going. Were there any of last year’s friends in their class? Would they make new friends? What kind of teachers did they have? Did they find the bus to after school care? What kind of a year will this be? As I drove home, I thought about the conversation at the supper table. Stories of homework assignments, field trips to be taken, studies to be tackled. After dinner, there would be mounds of paperwork, health forms, permission slips, and emergency information. But, at our house, for the first time in twenty years, today was just another day. It’s not first day of school at our house. Instead of buying lunch boxes and tennis shoes, we invested in $2,000 worth of fire equipment. Thick pants and jackets, treated with fire retardant and covered with reflective tape custom fit to youngest son’s measurements. A respirator, helmet, boots, suspenders, gloves. Rope and bags to carry it in. Tons of books and DVDs. But, Fire Academy doesn’t start until next week leaving me with a melancholy feeling about the years that have past. I knew that husband would not be home for dinner until late and faced eating alone. Youngest son is rarely home for dinner these days. I trudged into the house carrying a load of loneliness and some regret. I was surprised to find youngest son in the kitchen eager to eat. He grilled steaks while I fixed potatoes and rolls. We ate together and conversed like two adults instead of mother and child. For once, I listened more than I talked, but still managed to wring some information from him. He told me of his day and his hopes for the rest of the week until Fire Academy becomes his sole focus. He is serious about successfully completing the program. He knows that 75% of his class will drop out before the end. He vows not to be one of them. My mood lifts. Yes, we have left the days of childhood behind. But, I can get used to this new stage of young adulthood and acceptance of responsibility. He cleared his plate from the table, thanked me for the dinner he had cooked and went upstairs to watch television and talk to his friends on the phone. We’ll be okay. To everything there is a season, but God’s still working miracles everyday.