September 5th, 2016
Dear Ayla and Jeremy,
It’s getting late this Labor Day evening. Ayla is passed out asleep on the couch, her nails freshly painted and her hair parted into several ponytails ready to be made in the morning; Jeremy sitting in the glow of the television as we watch the Wonder Years…biding his time until we send him off to bed. You’re both on the verge of a new school year. 1st Grade for Jeremy and Kindergarten for Ayla.
Where did the time go? I am officially the father of two Elementary School students. I know that the coming year will be full of intellectual, emotional, academic, and social growth for you. For me, the educator, I am excited to see your continued development and fascinated to see how your plastic and absorbent minds synthesize and manage new information. For me, the parent, I’m thrilled to watch you grow and with the sting of nostalgia remember you as babies–fresh and totally dependent on your mother and me for everything. Your steps towards independence are beginning in earnest as you officially develop lives out of our sights and into the people you will be (truly and out of the restrictive gaze of your parents).
Its purposeful that we’re watching the Wonder Years as you both are at the beginning of your own. The future is wrought with success and failure, triumph and embarrassment, and most of all the thrills of life. Certainly you’re excited for new friends and new teachers; I’m excited for the new everything you’ll experience. Every new school year is a new opportunity to shine and broaden your horizons. A year from now we’ll look back at the pictures we’re going to take tomorrow and talk about how babyish you look…but today you look so big. So grown.
Since I’ve started writing, you’ve both fallen asleep and Paul Pfeiffer is having his Bar Mitzvah. Before I know it you’ll both be taking the bima yourselves. I cannot get over how fast it is going.
My birthday is always the sign of the end of summer and the herald of the coming of school. When it passed this year, we were in Paris and I knew that we’d have a different milestone for the end of summer–our return to the States. In this way, we try to augment and compliment the educations you are both pursuing in school (and Hebrew School before the week is out). Education isn’t just confined to the classroom and learning isn’t only gained from the teachers.
We’ll send you off tomorrow with your hair impeccably arranged, your outfits meticulously appointed, and your bags perfectly packed; lunches carefully and lovingly put in order by your mother. We’ll take you to the school house door, and from there the ball is in your court.
Your Mother and I are always proud of you; at every opportunity you prove us right and even show us that mere pride isn’t enough. I know that by the time Jeremy is 25 and I’m 50 you’ll have filled our hearts with such nachas that they’ll burst.
So as you venture upon your classrooms and I return to mine, I wish you better than luck: I wish you a life of happiness, fun, and learning. I know you’ll have it.
PS I’m ever astounded by the brilliance of my two children. On our recent trip in France, I was amazed to watch you take everything in–and all my friends via social media we’re astounded at your palates. Fear no food, fear no experience, the world is yours, and there is no horizon too far–just as there is no carousel too far despite Ayla’s protest on our recent hike to Hempstead Lake Park.