My kids start school on the first of September. (Well, Quinn starts a little later because the school staggers the start dates for the different levels of kindergarteners.) I’m not ready to give up sleeping in in the mornings, but I am ready for my kids to have a little more structure. Or maybe I’m the one ready for a little more structure. Either way we are gearing up for a new routine and I think it will be interesting.
The oddest thing for us to adjust to this year is that all three of
my kids have new teachers. This is not unusual for most people, but my
kids attend a public Montessori school, and in Montessori education you
stay in one classroom for three years. Aden is moving up from her
first/second/third grade room, to a new class for fourth/fifth/sixth
grade. We found out just this past week that she got the teacher we
were hoping for, which is a big deal since that’s a person we will be
working with into 2014.
But Quinn and Mona have new teachers as well, even though they are
staying in the same rooms as last year. Quinn’s teacher retired, and
Mona’s teacher moved, and both replacements are new to the school. I
have high hopes for the new teachers, and think it will be an exciting
change for my kids. We’ll find out soon.
Aden is looking forward to being reunited with her friends on a daily
basis instead of being at the mercy of the ability and willingness of
grown-ups to arrange play dates, but she is dreading homework.
simply excited. She loves school, and has already constructed a fresh cup o’ snakes to bring on the first day and share with her classmates.
Quinn, I’m hoping, will finally feel comfortable enough to really
explore what school has to offer him. K3 was a big adjustment (as it
was for my girls, too) and he’s a shy and private person. He’s already
reading at about a first grade level (or at least what I’m assuming is a
first grade level since he can read everything his sister can), he
loves to print and write in cursive, and he will sit at the dry erase
board and add columns of numbers all day long if we let him, so you’d
think there would be no one better cut out for school than Quinn. I
figured Montessori would be a perfect fit since lessons are taught to
individual kids instead of the group, and he can move ahead academically
at whatever pace is appropriate. But Montessori is also child
directed, and Quinn is not aggressive about what he wants to do. He
spent a long time scooping rice from one bowl to another along with the
other K3’s last year and then coming home and saying school was boring.
I asked the teacher to offer Quinn higher level work instead of waiting
for him to ask for it, and he did do some cute little books with
drawings which I adore, but I’m not convinced he finds school
interesting. But he’s only four so I’m not going to worry about that
All my worries at the moment are with my parents. My dad suffered serious health issues
at the end of last year, he’s been doing chemo since he returned from
the hospital, and after this last course of treatment recently took a
turn for the worse. As luck would have it, my brother, who lived with
my parents for over a month to assist in dad’s care earlier this year,
happened to be visiting just as dad needed to go to the emergency room.
He’s keeping us up to date with news as he gets it.
In the meantime I am wrapping up as much as I can at the violin store
and we did our school supply shopping. I have a bag packed in case I’m
needed back in Michigan. Or if I just need to be back in Michigan. If
it comes down to it, other people can run the store for a bit and the
world will keep turning if I don’t get to take pictures of my kids on
the first day of school. I’m still going on the assumption that despite
the setbacks and the realities of stage four cancer, things will be
fine. Because I need my dad and I have to believe that.
It does put life in perspective, when something serious enough arises
to make things that looked like worries yesterday not qualify as
worries today. I keep thinking about the school photo dad showed me on my last visit,
of himself as a boy looking sweet and proud in the group of New York
schoolchildren gathered outside his elementary school. The mystery of
life to me lies in the ways in which so much is both unique and at the
same time universal. My dad was once the child collecting supplies for
the new school year. Then it was me. Now it’s my children.
standing in this middle ground of life, looking at one end of the
journey embodied by my children, and the other end by my father, is
humbling, and scary, and thrilling, and sad. I want love without loss,
but life doesn’t work that way. The best I can do is accept it, and
pack my bag.