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Posts Tagged ‘school’

When I sent my firstborn off to kindergarten several years ago, I was brand new at the whole school thing – and I had two babies in the house.

My son would bring home detailed instructions on what they were doing in kindergarten; one of my babies would cry; I’d drop the instructions and run off, forgetting immediately all information the school wanted me to know.

Thus, in those early weeks, he’d go to school rather ill-prepared – and then come off the bus at the end of the day, crestfallen.

“It was blue day today, mom,” he’d tell me.

Alas, poor child! The green shirt he was wearing was all wrong on the blue day, that special day when all the children in kindergarten were supposed to wear blue (according to the instructions I’d earlier forgotten).

For whatever reason, I remember his early weeks of school as being all wrong – his wardrobe never matched the instructions – because I’d lost them in a swirl of distraction.

Thus, I resolved that when those two distracting babies reached the age of kindergarten, I was never going to fail to put them in the right color!

I didn’t count on the color preferences of my girls to stand in the way.

Who has orange items in their wardrobe? Not my girls – not my pink and purple girly girls.

Who has red? Mine do – but not in an item they wanted to wear today.

The color-coordinated lesson plan has been a headache from the get-go. So enough already with the color stuff. Let’s get them going on the good stuff – like algebra….

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Right this minute, as I type this, all three of my children are in grammar school. My girls, my baby girls, are in kindergarten. My beloved first born, in fourth grade.

I’m once again overwhelmed by a parenting milestone. Emotional, and even, yes, a little teary-eyed.

This time around, I did not sob publicly at the bus stop, as I had done when my son boarded the bus on that first full day of kindergarten. He was completely perplexed that a day that gave him such a thrill caused me such obvious sorrow.

As he boarded that yellow bus, I cried. Yes I cried. I cried, not because my son was leaving me, or that I worried about his ability to do well in kindergarten. I cried because my son was going off onto the bus that would take him to the world where I could no longer protect him. I put him on that bus and with him went all the impossible dreams shared by all parents. We want our children to sail easily through life. No tragedies. No missteps. We want our sons and daughters to be beloved by all, to succeed beyond our wildest dreams.

And so they go to school, and that’s why I cried. When I think of school, I remember being inspired by the rare great teacher but I also remember unending boredom at the hands of people who no longer cared for teaching. I remember the cruelty of children towards other children. I’ve sent my children off into that world and I hope I’ve given them the skills they need to thrive, but I worry. One cannot help but worry.

This year, I held it together on Monday, the open-house day, when the parents got to go to school with their kindergartners.

I held it together when the teacher read a poem about the fears parents had the night before the first day.

I held it together yesterday, when my baby girls got off the big yellow bus by themselves, after their first full day in the classroom.

I held it together – and even enjoyed the family back-to-school barbecue last night.

Today, I’m a mess. I’m a mess because I’ve launched my babies into the world and yes, it’s all good – they’re ready.

But I’m a mess because maybe, just maybe, I’m not ready for my obsolescence.

Nearly ten years ago I became a parent, and was immediately overwhelmed by the constancy of my baby’s need. He ate all the time; he slept hardly ever. Between the two, I was literally blown away by how tethered I felt as the mother of a newborn.

Then the twins came, and I was tethered, yes, but used to it by then. I had learned to fit pieces of me into little slices of naptime and other bits of time like that.

And then my son went to kindergarten and my girls went to preschool.

And today, they’re all in grammar school. All three of them are “big kids” now. And my life as the mother of babies has come to an end forever.

Today, I am sad.

Tomorrow I will celebrate this milestone. But I never realized how much of parenthood was learning to let go….

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And yes, since this is June and we are only mid-way through 2009, this is a wrap-up of the school year.

It was a great one, this year. And the end of it leaves me a little sad. Last year (2007 – 2008) was not so great for one of my children. The teacher was absent so many times, she would have been declared a truant, had she been a student herself. The endless parade of substitutes (all different from the last) made a tough year almost impossible.

This year was different. This year, all three of my children had teachers who loved doing what they were doing. They showed up. They cared. They let me prattle on with my worries and my concerns. They created an environment that allowed my children to flourish.

And they saw promise in all the children they taught.

We live in a world where people in the financial community have turned “bonus” into a debacle – who insist that there’s no reason to work at a place if you can’t make astronomical sums of money, regardless if you succeed or fail.

Teachers – good teachers, that is – show how nonsensical the Wall Street way really is. Teachers make okay money – not great – not awful. When they do their job well, however, it has a benefit that lasts for a lifetime.

My children received a golden bonus this year for sure – they all had wonderful teachers who were passionate about their work and their students. A great teacher is a priceless gift to students – something no “bonus” or amount of money can quantify.

And so I end this year full of appreciation for a job very well done by our teachers – and a little sad to say good-by to people who’ve made such a positive difference in the lives of my children.

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It was serendipity, I suppose, but the day after the 10th anniversary of Columbine, I found myself on a bus with a bunch of pre-k students on a field trip to see a community theater presentation of High School Musical.

Serendipitous because I brood about Columbine quite a bit, so the anniversary of the massacre left me feeling dark and tinged with sadness. Ten years have passed since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went to school one day loaded with weapons and bombs. Seems hard to believe a decade separates us from that moment. The shock has not diminished. The question has not been answered.

What happened to turn those boys into killers?

Ten years ago, I was pregnant with my first child and Columbine gave me one of those reality checks no pregnant woman ever wants to experience.

Your child could go to school one day and die there.

Or worse, your child could go to school one day and murder more than a dozen people before killing himself. (more…)

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Tomorrow is a day off – one of those vaguely defined holidays like “teachers’ institute” or something like that, so today, my childrens’ schools held their Valentine’s Day Parties.

Which meant my limited time as a working mother became a bit more pinched. Aidan needed 20 cards; Lindsey needed 48 cards and Nora needed 29 cards for their classes (Lindsey & Nora go to full day montessori, but the day is broken down into two half-day classes, with different students, thus many many cards needed to be signed by new writers.)

I realized yesterday that I didn’t have near enough Valentine cards to cover all the students in Lindsey’s morning AND afternoon classes. So when Aidan was at swim practice, Lindsey, Nora and I raced over to Target to get some more.
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