In more recent years, it was always the glimpses of wee ones, heading to their first day of kindergarten, hands firmly held by moms and/or dads though, that stirred strong memories.
Seeing my eldest at five, trekking off down the street, is as vivid a picture today for me as it was then. Fiercely independent, an old soul mature and wise beyond his years, he was determined to do this on his own. To this day, I'm not sure he knows I had his back the whole way.
Knowing he was more than ready did make his walk away from being my little boy easier for me. The same could not be said of my feelings about my other kids, however. His younger sister had walked hesitantly beside me to school her first day. While I had worried she might not be quite as keen to leave me, though, once inside she sent Mommy on her merry way.
Me? I cried all the way home and for a time after. A pattern repeated with the youngest two as well.
Needless to say I'm a tad sentimental. And now, when I see reminders that that time of year is nigh, the images are as strong as they were then. I can still feel a little emotional when I remember those little faces looking up at me as we walked toward, and talked about, the new adventure before them. When I see promotions for school supplies or kids' fashions, I also remember the many photos taken of my brood over the years sporting new duds and loaded backpacks for that first day back.
So with a new school year set to begin in a few weeks, here are some terrific back-to-school photo collections: