First Day of School – The Battle of Heart vs. Head

How is it that the first day of school can be such a dichotomy of emotions – at the same time completely hope filled and completely anxiety ridden? Although my first-time kindergartener and first-time preschooler shed no tears today when they were dropped off in their strange new worlds, ready to take on whatever challenges awaited them, their Mama sure did! The moment I had them safely and happily deposited in their classrooms and I was alone in the car, I burst into tears. My brain, which was sure of their safety and convinced they were in the best place for their growth and development, fought with my heart, which seemed determined to dredge up images of tiny fists grabbing single fingers for security and tiny eyes looking up into mine with complete trust while nursing in the night and tiny feet taking first steps. Who can compete with those images? So of course, my heart won the fight and my head surrendered briefly to the tears. Briefly. And then it took up arms again and reminded me that this is what it’s all about! Parenting is about raising independent, strong-minded individuals. It is about sending them out into the world to have experiences all their own and believing that the values you’re instilling in them will carry them through. It is as much about trusting them when you know they are capable as it is about them trusting you to help make them so. And as pride began to win the fight against pining, I was reminded, once more, of the importance of seizing the moment – living in it and experiencing it to its fullest – and not waiting until it’s gone to fully appreciate its worth. Today was one small step for little boys, one giant leap in the journey of motherhood.

First day of school

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The Library

Stepping into a library is like stepping back in time. There is a strange and strong sense that this whole system is arcane and unnecessary in today’s high-tech information age. And yet there is something sweet, innocent, almost magical about walking through those doors and being greeted by the sight and smell of rows upon rows of old, dewey-decimaled books. One almost expects to turn a corner and be greeted by “The Pagemaster” himself.

I was always in love with the library as a child – where countless volumes of stories and pictures and even films were available for anyone to borrow and return on the honor system! The only cost of taking armloads home with you was the responsibility to bring them back on time. But even this was negotiable. If you didn’t really want to return your new treasure just yet, you could call and let them know you’d like to keep it a little longer. No problem. Being given a library card was like being given the keys to a whole new world of possibility. One full of unknowns and mystery and knowledge.

But somehow, as I grew up and the world grew around me, I forgot. I left college, started work, started a family, got a smart phone with access to ALL information ALL the time . . . and I forgot. I had not stepped through the doors of a library in over 7 years! Until . . .

I rediscovered the unquenchable thirst of a child who LOVES to read. My son, who turns three next week, cannot possibly get his hands on enough stories and would sit and be read to all day if the adults in his life would just cooperate! I’m not sure how I made it 3 years before finally taking him to this magical place of my youth, but when I finally did, I saw the same wonder and fire in his eyes that used to exist in mine. Perhaps he’s reignited it. As I watched him run from one shelf to the next and excitedly uncover stories both familiar and foreign, fiction and non, and immediately plop down on the floor where he found them and ask, “Will you read dis to me?” I couldn’t help but be inspired.

And, as the rain flooded the world outside, my little boy and I sat on the floor of the library and traveled to far off places, experienced different times, and believed the impossible. 16 books and 2 hours later, we walked out with a brand new key to this kingdom of books and a deep knowledge that it would not be so long before I came back the next time. With my son’s new-found passion, and mine rediscovered, I knew . . . information age or not, there’s nothing that can replace good, old-fashioned books or the house that holds them sacred and keeps them safe.

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed since we first listed our home for sale. It is a beautiful home. One that we wouldn’t be trying to sell if it weren’t for school districts and the consistent cares of old home maintenance. It was listed for 8 1/2 months before we took it off the market for a brief respite over the holidays. 8 1/2 months of never leaving the house in any state but immaculately show-worthy! Constantly picking up, cleaning, hiding, stressing, and leaving on a moments notice to allow strangers to invade our most intimate space and pass judgement on it. I don’t look back on that time with fondness. And for a short while, we had hopes that we may not need to re-enter the rat race if we could get our son accepted into a charter-like,  public Montessori school, since this philosophy of education would give any highly rated private school a run for their money. Alas, we just found out that he was not accepted, despite his obvious brilliance and charm. So we find ourselves returning again to “Plan A” – sell the house and move into a better district 10 miles away where the schools are rated twice as highly as those of our district. Only this time, I get to do it while being largely pregnant and recovering from a c-section with a new baby and a toddler. Yippee! We considered waiting, but by the time I recovered and life returned to pseudo-normalcy (whatever that means), it would be well into the summer with only a few months before the holidays begin again and we find ourselves right back into the spring, a full year from now, with only 1 year of buffer to try to sell before Aiden begins kindergarten. So we decided to pull ourselves up by the boot straps, do some thorough spring cleaning (it is amazing how quickly bad habits can return when you are not required to keep everything spotless anymore), and re-list. We are meeting with agents this weekend and the deed should be done before the end of the week! So here we go again! Hopefully this time we will find success . . . and much more quickly. Wish us luck!