Labor day has always depressed me.

It marks the last summer holiday, the last weekend where you are required by law to barbecue, the last weekend where walking around in sandals and no shirt is considered publicly acceptable.

It marks the end of summer.

When I was a kid, I remember dreading Labor Day. It always meant school was right around the corner. Another year of teachers I didn’t like blaming me for things I didn’t do. (Well, I didn’t do everything they said I did.) It meant the end of waking up at noon, of doing whatever I wanted during the day. It was always just a bummer holiday.

But not anymore. Now Labor Day marks the same time it always has, the beginning of the school year. And now that I’m a parent, that is simply awesome. I know I still have several years before I ship this guy off to school, but I cannot wait for it.

I began thinking about this when my mother sent me a local news story from back home of a mom who does a celebratory dance in front of her kids’ school bus on the first day of school every year, for the past five years. That struck a chord with me that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have a year ago.

But thinking on the celebration that will be the start of school for my son got me dwelling on all holidays and how I feel about them. I started thinking less on how I feel during them, but how my son will once they are upon him. This was a pleasant exercise.

I’ll start with a simple one — birthdays. I haven’t cared about my birthday in almost a decade, and because of that I don’t care too much for other people’s birthdays either. The latter part doesn’t go over too well with the wife. But now, my son’s birthday is going to be a national holiday for the next 10 years or so. Birthdays will regain the magic they once held for me. That is a simply awesome prospect.

Then there is Easter. I’m not a very churchy Catholic, and because of that I often forget when Easter occurrs. But now with this guy here, searching for eggs in open fields and gorging on chocolate are again something to look forward to. (And the whole Jesus part of it, too.)

Then there are the few holidays I do look forward to that I take very seriously.

For me, nothing takes the cake quite like Thanksgiving. I absolutely love it. My extended family gets together and cooks way too much food.

After eating, we sit around, watch football and drink. It’s beautiful.

But what will my son’s experience be? While he won’t be drinking (hopefully), he will be spending time with all of his little cousins, playing with Legos, making Thanksgiving art, and probably getting into trouble.

He will have just as amazing of a Thanksgiving experience that I currently do, while experiencing it completely differently.

This got me looking forward to other holidays more then I ever thought I would, and I owe it all to what was once my most depressing holiday, the mark of the end of freedom. Labor Day.

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