Last week at the neighborhood pool, I was shocked to learn that most of the kids were starting school again on Monday. As in yesterday. It seems so early this year, but the moms said it’s the same week school started last year—a week earlier than years past, they thought. The school year has inched its way longer because there are more teacher workdays built into the schedule.
Yesterday morning, everyone in my house slept late because we’d had a big day on Sunday. Also I think we were all sort of hiding from Monday, aka The Day Daddy Goes Away Again. I was the first one up, and as I came down the stairs at 7:30, I saw Rose’s best buddy from across the street heading for the bus stop with his mom. He’ll be in second grade this year; Rose is, according to the state of Virginia, in third.
We don’t pay much attention to grades except as a frame of reference for other kids. Jane would be in sixth grade if she were in school. Sixth grade! That’s middle school! Over the summer I listened to other moms, my friends, worry about the middle school transition without really registering that I’d be in the same boat if we had traveled another, um, river. We’re in a different kind of transition here. Yesterday, while their neighborhood friends were getting acclimated to new teachers, new classmates, new school clothes, my kids were:
1) playing games in a bank lobby while Scott and I tried unsuccessfully to get me added to his new bank account (because even though it’s a national bank with the word America in its NAME, for Pete’s sake, with glossy brochures about how YOU CAN DO YOUR BANKING ONLINE! and WE ARE SO TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED, YOU WILL THINK YOU ARE A JETSON!—well, that’s the gist, anyway—it turns out I have to actually BE in California to be added to the account he opened at a California branch, because the East Coast and West Coast computers don’t speak each other’s languages and all they can do is bat their fiber-optic eyelashes at each other and smile blank yet amiable smiles);
2) driving to the airport and discussing the dreaded monkey-face disease in sheep, caused by ewes’ consumption of Western false hellebore while pregnant (where "discussion" = "Jane telling us all about it, and the rest of us saying ‘Seriously? Where did you hear about this?’ ");
3) sobbing in the airport;
4) sobbing half the way home, until
5) someone suggested the Snoopy CD, and we discovered that showtunes may not be able to heal a broken heart, but they can drown it out for a while.
As for today, here’s what Beanie has planned. (She just showed me the schedule she filled out in an out-of-date planner.)
Sleeping (already checked off)
*(Me: "Lean?" Beanie, laughing like I’m adorably silly: "No, it says LEARN!")
Which I guess means I don’t have to cook today. Excellent. We will just read, play, and lean.
Heads of the Class
From the Archives: Life on the Trail
Back to Earth
The Well-Appointed Medical Kit