Jude’s start date was last Thursday, and Norah’s was 4 days later on Monday. My faculty start date is 7 days after hers, and then my students come 7 days after that. All that to say that we are easing into it and getting used to a new routine around here. August is never my favorite month, so many transitions.
Norah was so excited to move up to the “big kid side” of her preschool. There are two hallways and two playgrounds, and this year marks her transition to the older one. She was feeling proud and ready on that first day.
It’s an adjustment for me, too. It will take a few weeks to get in the rhythm of a new year and our new normal. I think about Jude often during the day, worry that he’s doing alright and getting used to things. I see him a little differently. I’m more mindful of the million things that can happen during the school day and the million ways I hope he stays safe and happy. (Like adding a sticker over the name of his school in the above photo because the internet suddenly even seems a little scarier, as does the entire world.) The hard truth about parenting is that if you are doing it right, you are just preparing to let them go. Preparing them to meet the big world outside without your help eventually.
In ways the world seems smaller than it did a month ago though. We are meeting more faces in the neighborhood during our bus stop chats and getting to know other families better through the shared experience of watching little hands wave as they drive away each morning. Norah’s little class has familiar faces she adores and a teacher who has known her for two years already. And though I’m exhausted from my first week back after a summer of leisure, I’m happy to see my colleagues and tread my feet in the familiar setting of my university.
It’s so weird how the world can seem big and small at the same time. There’s a lot out there, but really we all exist mostly in our own little orbits. I’m looking after my own two in all the tiny and exhausting ways moms come to know well – packing lunches, waking them from sleep, listening to stories about teachers and friends, baths, bedtime reading, all the planning of the weekday lives that give us rhythm. There’s so much life in the mundane though. This is where it happens, I’m finding.
I’ve got big hopes for the academic year ahead. Growth in my kids, growth in me, and the combination of burrowing in the comfortable routines we come to know so well and stretching ourselves to new unfamiliar places.