Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Chasing Shadows, Chasing Dreams #SOL17
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Slice of Life: Chasing Shadows, Chasing Dreams #SOL17


Slice of Life is a challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. 

The flash of red catches my eye.  I turn to watch him jump off the bench arms lassoing some object in his mind.  He continues down the path and then stomps with both feet exclaiming, “Gotcha!”  Then he is off in pursuit of his next victory.  Lasso, stomp, gotcha continues over and over until he captures every shadow on the quad.


I turn and realize the tour group had continued on.  I was so engrossed in watching this boy I forgot what I was doing.


I jog to catch up to my son who is waiting for me to rejoin the group.  While my body moves forward to catch up to him, my heart wants to go back to my spot on the college quad watching the carefree joy of the young boy catching shadows.  I want to go back to imaginary play, fits of laughter, and years ahead of us.  I want to go back to answerable questions, bed routines and endless hours building legos.  I want to go back.  I look between this young boy and my son, now a young man, and wonder how it has all gone so fast.

I catch up as he holds the door for me to enter the building and rejoin the group.

This is the science building so I don’t want to miss it.  She is a biology major.  She can show us some of the labs in the building because she has access. 

That’s cool.

I look back, only for a moment, and see the young boy grab his dad’s hand as they head off on their way.  I turn my attention to the tour and realize I don’t where I am headed.  This next step is uncharted.  I look at my son and I see anticipation.  His eyes are sparkling and set to his future.  He has so many opportunities ahead of him.  So many hopes and dreams.  I focus on him.  I set my gaze ahead so I don’t miss a single moment looking back as he moves forward.



  • franmcveigh
    Posted at 13:11h, 05 March Reply

    Simply beautiful.
    The comparison of what you see, what your son says, and your actions – so tightly woven! You are such an amazing storyteller!
    Thanks for sharing this slice!

  • Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 13:12h, 05 March Reply

    OMG! This piece is incredible, Clare. I am sitting here, trying to type through blurry eyes filled with tears. You moved me! This piece is filled with genuine emotion – you convey it all so well: getting lost inn the shadow tag play of a little boy, the sweet yearning to go back in time, to relive precious moments with your young man. So artful – the way you connect your son’s dialogue about the science lab tour – I don’t want to miss it – with your closing thought – I don’t want to miss all that is happening now and in the future by focusing on the past. It is a highly inspirational piece. It remind us that our future is largely uncharted territory – but we shouldn’t be afraid. Instead, we should look for new opportunities, set new goals, forge ahead! I could read this piece over and over again, and like a new book, I would never grow tired of it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom,

  • PaulaBourque
    Posted at 13:56h, 05 March Reply

    You are tugging at my heartstrings, Clare. Such a beautiful dichotomy of past and present. We are each of us all that we were, all that we are, and all that we may potentially be. Seeing this in our children is intensely wrought with emotion. Your title is perfect: we are constantly chasing shadows and trying to catch up with their dreams. Thanks for this. I can feel it, too.

  • Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 15:19h, 05 March Reply

    Your words ring so true. Sucha great post about past and future colliding. I love it.

  • Katherine Sokolowski
    Posted at 15:37h, 05 March Reply

    Oh, Clare, you have so much here. My boys are 14 and 11. I chide myself for wanting life to slow down, for looking back at the past so much when I know how much they have in store for them in the future. So hard.

  • Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 15:56h, 05 March Reply

    Clare, this so captures the “Mom” experience. We know our job is to set them free having given them all the love and support we can muster. Still, we want to hold them tight, protect them, keep them with us. When my oldest moved to New Orleans for his first job after college, I wrote him a poem about how “If I could” I would keep him here, holding him tight in my arms, never letting anything of anyone hurt him. But that’s not how it goes, is it?
    I loved reading this.

  • Linda Baie
    Posted at 16:31h, 05 March Reply

    Beautifully written, Claire, the moments of parenthood that others will have, or remember.

  • Rose Cappelli
    Posted at 17:19h, 05 March Reply

    “I set my gaze ahead so I don’t miss a single moment looking back as he moves forward.”
    You have captured that conflicted moment so well, Clare, and brought me back to my own experiences. Like the little boy chasing shadows, there will be many things that trigger your memories. Once, I had to leave a store because the sentiment on a card I was picking out reminded so much of my daughter and I couldn’t stop crying. Thanks for sharing.

  • arjeha
    Posted at 17:40h, 05 March Reply

    Beautifully written piece about being in the moment while remembering the past and looking forward to the future.

  • Deb Frazier
    Posted at 18:02h, 05 March Reply

    I keep rereading your piece as a writer to see exactly how you wrote this, it’s so beautiful! Then, I read and reread your post as a mom connecting to my life right now. I am sure my girls are doing eye yoga (this is what they call an eye roll) each time I point out a little girl and say, “Awe, that reminds me of when you….” I just can’t help myself!

    Thank you for the writing inspiration and mommy memory!

  • Carrie Gelson
    Posted at 18:31h, 05 March Reply

    Sigh. I am only in the early teen years and I so struggle here. It does go so fast. Yet I remember years and years of details. The parenting as they get older is so complicated. It’s not a packed lunch, a secret to sleep and romp at the park. It’s more. It’s subtle. I don’t know if I have it figured out at all.

  • Dana Murphy
    Posted at 20:34h, 05 March Reply

    Well of course I’m crying now. As you know, I’m still chasing shadows, but I feel time slipping away.

    Keep your eyes ahead, friend, there is more magic coming your way.

  • Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 21:20h, 05 March Reply

    Do you think you could put warning labels on your posts? Emotional material ahead… I may suggest that to some other slicers as well. This piece is so perfectly crafted, pulling us in with the flash that we want to know about and then yanking us straight back to the quad with you. The present tense works really well, as does the dialogue.

    You’re right about wanting to go back, but it’s also fun going forward, too. I know you’ll enjoy it when you can and weather it when you have to!

  • Karen Terlecky
    Posted at 21:27h, 05 March Reply

    Wow!! I am moved to tears, and I wasn’t expecting it.
    What a beautiful design of words, images, and emotions. This is writing craft at its finest.
    Those years when our children are beginning to transition to a new stage in life are incredibly bittersweet.
    I’m so glad you decided to add #SOLSC to your already-full plate!

  • Aileen Hower
    Posted at 23:48h, 05 March Reply

    I can feel so much of this. This speaks to my heart as Liam chooses high school classes and turns 14 this coming Saturday.

  • Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 01:03h, 06 March Reply

    Your words sang to me today, Clare. I have tears in my eyes. This brought me right back to sending my son off to college this past fall. It’s such a hard step to get through, but it does get easier. Soon, he will be checking in with you just to say hi, sending you a text with a funny story, and calling for advice. He will tell you how much he misses your homemade cookies and you will send him a care package with an extra $20 “just in case.” The next step is unknown to you now, but I promise you there are many joys ahead.

  • Slice of Life: Trying on a New Lead for Size #SOL17 | Assessment in Perspective
    Posted at 10:20h, 06 March Reply

    […] Here the lead from my post: […]

  • Michelle
    Posted at 02:35h, 07 March Reply

    So beautiful. Just what I needed to hear after my negative thoughts about the mess that is created each week. I will treasure these small moments because you are right … they are fleeting as fast as the shadow can move. Thank you for this Clare. Thank you.


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