So it's the Tuesday after Labor Day, back to school day here where we live. Of course Mark went back to school over a week ago, and if I weren't on sabbatical I would have gone back last Monday; fall starts slowly around here. But I put Mariah on her bus at 7 and took Nick into his classroom at 9 this morning, so it really is back-to-school day. Both kids are in their last year at their respective schools. As I was walking Nick in this morning, a woman I know who lives in the neighborhood (whose son is Mariah's age) called out to me, "Aren't you ever leaving this school?" Her kids are in middle and high school, but here I am still walking into the elementary school. Indeed, I've been a parent at this school for 12 years now, ever since Mariah was in kindergarten. Nick started pre-K there the year she started middle school, so they never went to the same school but we haven't had a break, either.
Not that we wanted one. It's been a great elementary school for both kids. If not every teacher was fabulous, still the kids have done fine and over all we've been satisfied. The only teacher both kids had was their fourth grade teacher, and she was wonderful. So were both second grade teachers, one third, one first . . . and so on. In fifth grade, the kids have a "homeroom" but they move around a bit, in preparation for middle school. (They've been switching for math and, last year, science, since third grade anyway.)
Nick's class seemed smaller today when I dropped him off. I know there are fewer fifth grade classes than there were fourth grades--parents start fleeing the elementary schools a year early in the hopes of heading off middle-school woes. So several of Nick's friends won't be around this year, and we're sad about that. Still, he was eager to get started and seemed happy to see old friends when he got in this morning.
Mariah's last year of high school will, of course, involve the college search. We spent so much time thinking about college this summer that right now high school feels like a little bit of a let-down to her. I'm hoping that changes as her classes get started and she settles back into her various activities.
In the meantime I need to put these hours to good use. I have 11-1/2 months of my sabbatical left, and so far it's been slow going. Time to get into gear now.