It’s First-Day-of-School season. The pictures on social media are heart-meltingly beautiful. And they spin me back to the wrap-around porch on a clear August morning and four laughing children who grew up so fast it takes my breath away.

The memories take me back even further. Back to a house on a hill and the leather skirt my sweet mother made for me one year. To the clunky clogs I wore every day, even when I had to carry them through the mud or when the snow came up to my ankles.

All the way back to the swirly yellow dress I wore in first grade where Mrs. Epperson taught us the magic of reading. And where everyone else could count to one hundred, and I got stumped on ninety-nine.

These memories get tangled with thoughts about growing up and growing old and how the world has changed and where my friends are now and whether we’ve lived up to our potential and if our grandchildren can live up to theirs.

So. Many. Thoughts. And emotions.

This is one of those spots in life where nostalgia can become gloomy. And there is only one way to handle those blues. I have to kick them out the door.

I let myself sit with the memories for a while. I feel the wind ruffle the leaves of many trees on many lawns in the many places I have lived. I smell the white glue in big pots in first grade. I taste the sweet peppermint from Mrs. Lowery’s desk, and I watch our children and grandchildren walk graduation stages from kindergarten to university.

I pull up the faces of my friends and my siblings and remember how we looked in first grade, and fifth grade, and junior high, and our forty-fifth class reunion. I even play some throwback music and watch iconic videos.

Then, I remind myself of something true. Nostalgia is never really about the rooms or the clothes or the books, or the buses. The emotional tie to those days is people. And people, Dear Reader, are eternal.

As the poet once wrote,

“There is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.” Edmund Spenser

Friendship. Relationship. Love. Those things can always be found again. If not on this side of the veil, then surely in that new Heaven and new Earth when time itself will have passed away.

So, this is how I handle nostalgia. And moods. I remind myself that much of the past was wonderful. Much of today is good. And, all of tomorrow has endless possibilities.

No matter how old we are on the first day of school.