One mom took a completely ordinary photo of a completely ordinary sight, one the many of us have seen often, and most of us would admit to scowling at. But her reflection upon the mundane spectacle thrust her, and the reader, into an utterly unexpected realm, when she chose to take in the deeper meaning of what she encountered that day.
The author entitled her poignant essay 'The 18th Summer' and it began with these simple words. "I came home the other day after a long afternoon of running errands and this is what my front porch looked like." That initial phrase gave no clue as to where she would eventually travel with her profound thoughts.
The blogger is a mom of two teenage boys, and this display is something she has seen countless times in the past because the pile of Nikes and Skechers and flip-flops belong to a tight group of friends who have been frequent visitors to her home.
They represent four years of bonding and unforgettable moments that her sons have shared with his tightly-knit cadre of comrades.
Instead of lamenting the untidy pile of footwear and the inevitable mess she was about to encounter inside the house, she took a moment and let the sadness overtake her as she realized that this would be the last summer for this.
Her sons just graduated from High School, as had their friends, which meant the tight brotherhood would be scattering far-and-wide in the Fall.
Before she found herself falling into a pit of despair, she made a quick decision. She would, instead, focus on the positive - but not before lamenting the unmistakable truth that all parents realize when their youngest turns 18. It’s the end of an era.
This very wise mom decided to focus on how fortunate she has been to have her house be the one her sons' friends like to congregate at, and that they have been privileged enough to have experienced such close friendships.
She decided to be grateful for all the days of teenage laughter she has heard coming out of her living room, and to be proud to buy the snacks that her visitors invariably consume.
And while the moment is definitely bittersweet (because the future will be so different from what she has grown accustomed to) she will embrace the present for as long as it lasts and looks forward to the days that lie ahead.
Her poignant words say it best, “So I am going to treasure this summer of the shoes . . . Because I know that all too soon those shoes will be running off exploring the world . . . and my porch will be empty."