I'm still on my quest to wake up earlier than my kiddos.
That's the only reason I know, first hand, that there were more lights on, up and down the street, than usual – even as something like darkness lingered on our lawns.
Today is the first day of school in our neck of the woods.
I imagine last night a lot of little kiddos when to bed a little earlier than they've grown accustomed to over the summer. They probably had their "first day outfits" laid out, their supplies packed up in shining new backpacks, a few butterflies in their tummies, and lots of grand ideas about what the new year would bring too. They probably dreamt of new friends and polished halls.
I imagine this morning that lots of mamas and papas woke up a little earlier than THEY have been accustomed to over the summer. They packed lunches and rechecked lists, smoothed cowlicks and nervous brows. They tied shoes that still have that new smell and gave pep talks that including time trusted phrases like, "do your best" and "be yourself."
I think it would be so hard to send them off and hope that the world is kind, that the teacher loves them and nurtures them, and sparks the fire of their imaginations, encourages their thirst for knowledge.
I think it would be exciting too, to have, stretched out before you, a new year, new possibilities, the stiff pages of new books full of things that you will come to know.
In our house, it's more difficult to see the line between one "school year" and the next, but there a few indicators. My boys have new pencils, sharpened and ready to pour out their stories. We have new paints, and we've replenished the supply of glue sticks. We've made lists of things that we'd like to know more about. We've subscribed to a few new magazines. We've come to some agreements about our schedule… starting a little earlier, a few things we'd like to accomplish each day, reserving Friday's for field trips and library visits, things like that.
And I have a few butterflies too. I think whether you are waving goodbye to your little ones as they board the big yellow bus, or you're stirring Irish porridge as your homeschooler comes sleepy-eyed into the kitchen, fully expecting you to walk with him down this day's learning path, a little worry comes with the territory.
Will he have what he needs?
Will the world be kind to him?
Will he grow to love learning?
Will he be a good friend?
Will he handle adversity well?
Will he remember who he is?
Will he learn and laugh and carry my love with him?
So, whether you navigated the carpool line this morning, or whether you're a new homeschool mama, with her lists and painstakingly researched curriculum, or whether you're an unschooler waiting for your kids to wake up with the flood of questions that will inspire lots of new learning adventures, or even if your "schooling" is some combination of all of the above, bless you.
Bless you for the heart and soul, love and concern, time and energy that you are investing in the young minds that are next in line for great things.
Bless you, and bless the little ones (and not so little ones) in your care. May they inherit all the magic and wonder of the world.