Looking Back

         Downtown bookstores have begun to stack piles of notebooks and paper pads and department stores have been selling backpacks and lunchboxes in colorful artworks with a variety of school supplies still in display. This familiar sight always brings me back to my early days of school.

        My father would wake me up at eight in the morning. I will timidly eat breakfast and he will give me a gentle and quick bath and get prepped up with my freshly ironed school uniform. He works at night so he will wait until the class ends at noon, fetch me and walk me home. This happened for almost a month when I started to learn how to write sensibly and read simple words. The month that followed became an ordeal for me however. He would no longer walk me to school and worse I had to go to class without him waiting for me outside and walking me home when class ends. A mix of fear and panic is so inevitable that I literally cried everyday. Eventually, I was able to forget these feelings when I started to meet new friends and learn a lot of new and interesting things. I became at ease with myself and with my new environment. After barely three months, I have learned to walk to school alone and go home by myself.

        This first experience taught me that life is a series of holding- on and letting- go. I learned this from my father who first held me and walked me to school because he is somebody whom I can trust and be protected with. His hands have a strong and assuring grasp in them which remind me that support is always there when needed most especially when life is always started with new beginnings. However, I have known that the path laid before me is not meant to be traveled this way forever. There is always the 'letting- go' aspect of it. It started with the experience of going to school and walking back home all by myself  that allowed me to accept this reality. Because of necessity fueled by an instinct to survive, I have mastered myself to overcome fear and stand up with the pain and adversity. Life, as they always speak about, is like a sea of uncertainty and our parents are our paddles that steer our ship off the shore through the waves and the wind. A journey is about to be started and slowly they will let go and allow us to face the harsh winds and enormous waves wherein lessons are learned making the heart strong and the mind sharp that the our cups are slowly filled with valuable treasures.

        The deeper knowledge of  the uncertain and the foreboding of being left alone force us to mentally prepare ourselves by assuming responsible and mature roles. Though it may seem that going to school is just a ritual of preparation for independence, we are bound to imitate independence and fortify it when we are finally thrown and tested into the real world of grown- ups. We may become uneasy, doubtful and hesitant but when we learn how face challenging situations we begin to take flight independently. The only thing that matters is how we live up our lives that the hands that took care of us will never despair.

        Summer is over and schools has opened days ago. New sailors have started to embark on a new journey bringing only with them ambition and inspiration. I can see a great deal of myself in them. Those were the days that the only thing I can think of right now is smile on how innocent I was, on how young and dependent I was. Things have changed a lot and I believe I have learned so much.

This article was contributed by Julius Juarez on June 19,2010. I just saw this today in my email while cleaning my inbox. This post is so timely and it just made me miss my dearest friend so much. We lost him to meningitis last March 2015. 

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