What every family needs before school starts…

Right at the beginning of the school year, every family with young children should go on a trip to a different time zone. Tess and Remy had their first day of school last week, just in time for us to jump on a plane and fly to Colorado to celebrate my sister’s birthday! Despite our misgivings, they did great on the plane – all four. Sharing a room as a family was less successful. All of the kids are normally good sleepers, but apparently they make an exception for Colorado. Whether they were scared of the dark or extra thirsty from the dry air, the kids slept fitfully at best the first night there and most of the second night. It may have but harder for them to fall asleep, but I loved hearing their breathing in the dark. Each of them has their own sounds at night, and I don’t usually hear them quite this close!

During the day, we contemplated whether the kids are old enough to ski in the winter, and went for walks on the ski hills. I screamed like a girl when confronted with a tiny black snake on the path, and friends marveled at all of the scat. “Gentrified nature” is remarkable, and best enjoyed socially. It was quiet and beautiful, and all of us had a wonderful time. The best part? A houseful of young professionals who found our kids adorable and continued to play with them and be kind to them every minute of the trip. It’s so fun to see them make friends with grown-ups.

We eventually got everyone sorted out, just in time to come home. The kids were so tired our first morning back that they were begging to stay in bed. Nevertheless, we coaxed and prodded until they were up and dressed and ready for school. Dave drove them to give them a few more minutes, and then we were off! Into another school year in a blink of an eye.

Both of the kids have wonderful teachers, and we feel unbelievably comfortable with all of the parents and teachers that we are meeting. This is a very warm and welcoming environment, and we look forward to many years in this building and with these teachers. At the school open house, we ran into “Madame Chou Chou”, who taught the kids in summer school. Their eyes lit up and they jumped up and down and excitement to see a friendly face. Dave and I are already making friends with other parents, and are looking forward to getting to know the other kids’ families.

The school reminds me a lot of the one I went to as a kid. It’s big enough for the kids to grow into, but small enough to be comforting and hard to get lost in. I marveled at how the kindergarten teachers kept order, and how easily kids slip into the structure of color coding and carpet squares.

It’s shocking to me that September is half over, meaning we are fully in the school year. This year is guaranteed to mean lots of changes, well beyond the kids transitioning to riding a school bus and writing their names. We are having a wonderful fall, and I hope it lasts a long time. I’m not ready to consider too small snowsuits and shrunken boots that fit fine in the spring. I don’t need reminders of how the kids are growing. It’s remarkable to watch and this week, listen to. Tess and Remy are transitioning into more French as painlessly as I could’ve hoped for. Amazing! Something was actually easier than we expected.