Last First Day of School

Big mile stones in our home today. Like it was for many, this week is back to school week for us. My two middle girls were especially excited about going back to and see all their friends. For them this year will be much of the same, they’re entering grade five and three. They’re staying at the same school and being in the early french immersion program their class ends up staying almost entirely the same kids.

To me this is a wonderful thing, we may have to drive our kids to and from school each day but if things continue on as planned they will never have to change schools. This means they should hopefully be able to build long and lasting friendships that they can carry with them throughout life. When I was young we moved around a lot. For the first number of years I was in a different school each year and once transferred to another school during the year. I didn’t get to make those friendships. I’m envious of my wife who has a great friend that she’s had since they were two years old.

For my oldest daughter this is a big year, grade nine. That means in this school area she is moving on to the high school. Last year she was the oldest in the school and now she will be one of the youngest. She put on a brave face and had a great attitude. When she is nervous though she tends to talk a lot and fast, this was our drive to school this morning. It was like she was reassuring herself that things were going to be OK. I did my best to help reaffirm that for her as well. She does have some friends coming with her but there will be lots of new people merging together from other schools as well.

She’s blossoming into a smart, beautiful young woman whose self confidence is finally starting to grow. She actually took a kind of support role for her friend this morning who was admittedly apprehensive of moving to the big high school. It seemed like this helped her more secure herself knowing she could be there for her friend. It made me feel proud watching this on the drive.

The biggest adjustment has to be for my youngest, my boy. He is starting school for the first time today. After going through this with his three older siblings you’d think I’d have a better handle on it. Maybe it was worse because this is our last child. There will be no more first days of school for our children.  He is ready but of course has major butterflies.  I know there is nothing to worry about he has three of his best friends in his class with him. They were all kids who, at least at some point, my wife has cared for in our home. So they’ve basically grown up together.

Especially around his friends he has always been confident, likely over confident. When we pulled into the school yard today my little man turned into a turtle. This wasn’t a ninja turtle like the ones on his backpack, but a shy little turtle who, if he could, would have pulled himself inside his shell. Instead he stayed right by my side and held on tight. His sisters were all there with us and encouraging him on as we walked across the yard to find his class.

There in the line up were all his friends waiting with their parents, some of them looking nervous as well, but not like him. This seemed to be overwhelming for him and for the first time I was scared it might be a hard transition for him. He did let go long enough to pose for a couple pictures with his friends, but then right back to me. His cousins offered to take him over to go see his teacher who he has met a number of times before, but he wouldn’t budge unless I went too. Even then it was a reluctant venture.

Finally the bell rang so we went back to grab his backpack and follow the line inside. He was so out of place he could barely get his bag on his back. I followed him into his class and we found the hook outside the door with his name on it. We took out his new inside shoes and he put them on no problem and hung up his bag. As soon as we walked into the classroom things completely changed. He didn’t care if I was there or not. He ran over to a table with his friends and started playing with lego and colouring pictures. It felt like a big weight lifted off my shoulders as I knew he was going be fine like I originally thought. He was so comfortable he barely looked to to say good bye when I told him I was leaving.

So thankful that I was able to take all the kids to the school this morning, and now I can’t wait to pick them up at the end of the day to find out what an amazing time they’ve had.

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