back to school

After ten years of parenting, I’m finally getting to experience Back-to-School week with my kids. And this is it.  It’s here.

Next week my children will walk away from me and into their 3rd and 5th grade classrooms at a wonderful Christian school (or so I’ve been told) and I will walk home alone.  And I know I will cry.  I will cry because they don’t need me nearly so much anymore.  And because though I barely survived the demand-feeding, baby-wearing days,  I sometimes wish I could still latch them on or sling them in.  Wish I could Hold Them Close through days and nights.  Wish they were still little enough to enjoy the illusion that I could really keep them safe.

Back-to-school in this theme park we call America (I love America, I really do, and I am PROUD and HONORED to be and American but sometimes it really does feel awfully like a theme park to folks like us) means sales and shopping, bigger sales and more shopping, and deals at the water park.  It means meetings and forms and new schedules and new bedtimes. I know all this because I look around me at the other mom’s and at what society tells me about back-to-school.  And this is what I’ve seen.

But for me, for us, for THIS family of four who co-slept for more years than you’re willing to hear and who are STILL proud of those decisions made a decade ago.  For US, back-to-school means:

-more books checked out of the library than ever before and more hours in a day spent reading than we knew possible

-special mommy and daddy dates to do things with our kids that they love

-brainstorming fun food ideas that we will have time to cook and eat and enjoy cold, packed for lunch at school

-filling a bulletin board with dreams of weekend adventures in the wilds of California and Nevada and Oregon. We may be in school five days a week and at work a sixth but we will PLAY hard when we can.

-shopping, not just with a goal in mind, but with heart’s connected

-hot coffee and cocoa on the table each morning and all four of us gathered round to sip it

-praying for our teacher’s and exulting that God REALLY DOES answer

Back to School is about sucking the marrow out of life both in and out of school.  It’s about valuing people more than places, time, or convenience.  It’s about knowing how to work with a schedule but taking every opportunity to abandon one.  It’s about learning, yes, but not so much about academics as about learning a culture, learning a group, learning how to be yourself while being part of something bigger.

Just as we’ve embraced art school and kindermusik, unschool and alternative learning, and Ugandan and co-op classrooms in the bush in Africa, we’ll embrace the Christian School in the city too.  We’re blessed, yes.  We’re going to grow, yes.  Maybe not in the ways we, or they, expect.  But at the end of this year we’ll be taller, bigger, better, surer, happier, more confident, more courageous people.

Because we’re going Back to School.

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