It was a pretty jarring transition. Until yesterday afternoon, we thought Levi had ten more days of summer. (We haven't even finished our book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.) But at the last moment he was accepted into the charter school Logan, Haley, and Jesse attend. Meaning that we should never again have kids in four different schools at a time (like last year). Just the charter school and high school.
Since Levi wasn't yet officially registered, I walked him into the school to drop off paperwork and help him find his class. Haley was all dressed up in her cute little pleated skort and bouncy ponytail. We walked her to her classroom door and she strode confidently in. In Levi's classroom I stood chatting with the teacher while he circuited the room to assess the lay of the land. I confess, I choked up a little. I was sending these shining little stars out into the big, wide world! And the nerves the kids had been feeling all morning were rubbing off on me.
After the school drop-off, I took Roscoe (who doesn't start school until next week) to the DMV, where he got his driver's license. Meaning that this year I won't have to drive him to early-morning seminary or pick him up from late-night theater rehearsals.
So after months of the near-constant presence of six kids, today I was home by noon with just Jesse and Betsy.
- A bit of peace and quiet.
- The excitement of new uniforms, new pencils, new classes.
- The alluring vistas of all the learning and growth that will happen this year.
- The opportunity to give Jesse some extra attention.
- No one to raise their eyebrows when I drive-thru for a Diet Coke.
- Schlepping back and forth to the school morning, noon, and night.
- Waking napping baby for said schlepping.
- No extra hands to hold Betsy.
- No built-in babysitters when I took Roscoe to the DMV.
- Jesse getting progressively more restless as the afternoon sans siblings wears on. Good thing he's starting school this year. (Also doesn't start until next week.)
- The chaotic after-school furor of eating snacks and doing homework and competing kids yelling, "And I need mechanical pencils!" and "Can you sign this?" and "Can I have a graham cracker?" and "Today was Chelsea's birthday!" and "Can I play wiiiiiii?" all at the same time.
- Missing my kids.
- Jigsaw-puzzling life around the school bell.
For Family Home Evening on Monday, Mark gave the kids father's blessings. In Haley's, he blessed her to know when to ask for help. I would never have thought to pray for that for her, but it's actually just what she needs to know as she tries to navigate the world. In Levi's, he listed a litany of "opportunities for bad" that Levi might face and admonished him to always choose the right. Again, I wouldn't have outlined the dichotomy that way, but I can see that it was wise and apt counsel for Levi.
In retrospect, I can hardly imagine how we made it through last year. I was so sore and tired so much of the time. And the kids' schedules were so crazy. I'm grateful for the opportunity for a more sane school year.
Knock on wood.