Yes, it's here-- today is the first day of school! Madeline is in fourth grade at our parochial school; Benjamin started in a new school with sixth grade at the public middle school; Elisabeth, a freshman, also has a new building; she joins junior Amanda at the public high school. It was an exciting and anxiety-provoking day for all. We know it's going to be an incredible year! Mama saved her sadness for alone time and sat with the pouting Jones, awaiting the return of our kids.
In addition to some changes and having four kids in three different buildings, the school district also shook things up this year, with a kind of soft start for only those new, incoming students. All the elementary schoolers started today, and then only sixth graders at the middle school and only freshmen at the high school. Amanda signed up to be a freshman mentor, however, so she also went today and will spend the first semester helping underclassmen settle in to high school life.
Last evening was humorous and trying. It was obvious everyone in Krinkeland was a bit jacked up. We shared a nice, family dinner, and the kids were all very cordial to one another, sharing tips about the different schools, teachers and grades and helping each other select the perfect first-day outfits. Sleeping wasn't so awesome. The windows were open and it rained. I was up quite a bit because I've been having trouble with my back. The children-- Benjamin was by far the worst-- all had trouble settling down and staying asleep throughout the night. We had high spirits but zombie eyes this morning.
Amanda texted a couple times during the school day, but just of the "Can I go here?" variety. I did get several updates on Benjamin from a staff member at his school who is also a family friend. One was this:
(That's Ben's friend Sam on the left.) The message read: "Just finished lunch and off to their first class." (There were tours and a pep rally and procedural stuff in the morning, and then a short mock schedule in the afternoon.) Believe me, sending off your barely-12-year-old into a mega-middle-school of nearly 1,500 kids without even a sibling to keep an eye out is nerve-wracking!
Of course, my favorite part of the day was when they all returned home. Late (it takes time to get down those bus routes) and wet from the rain. I didn't have to prod too much to get reviews of Day One. Leftover donuts helped. And, this is my favorite thing about the first day of school: Each kid's review and how that delivery defines each child.
Madeline: "School was great! My friends were good, but kind of loud and silly. My teacher is good, but it's not gonna be easy. I got assigned three bus buddies, but I lost two of them. Still don't know where they are. Really. I didn't even catch their names. I tried to tell the bus driver but she wouldn't stop or go back. I don't know what the new kindergarten teacher was thinking. I can't be responsible for anyone else-- I can hardly be responsible for myself!"
Benjamin: "It was good. I met a kid. I don't remember his name. I met all the teachers. They were walking around and talking to us at lunchtime. A lot of the teachers read my name tag and asked if I was Libby's brother. I said I was. They said they liked having Libby for a student. I hope that's not a lot of pressure for me."
Elisabeth: "It was lame. Not real high school."
Amanda: "Oh, it was fine. All the kids I was mentoring said the same thing: too many games, not enough time getting used to class. The freshman boys were really annoying, until, of course, I got them alone and then they had real questions, and I was, like, 'Yeah, boy, I see how it is when your posse's not around,' but I answered all the questions nicely, anyway. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow which will be the real first day of school for me, you know, getting to my classes and teachers and everything. I mean, I am not actually looking forward to class, but I do love the first day of school! I talked some more with the new choir director, which is good, and the theater director said 'Hi' to me in the hall-- she said 'Hi' first, so that's an excellent sign. I introduced Libby to the other theater director and some other teachers and stuff, even though she didn't want to and she said it would be awkward-- had to be done. I had this great idea about starting a Young Politicians Club at school, and I really I think I want to do it with this other student council officer because we have very different political views, so we would be a good representation, and now I just need to figure out which faculty member I should approach about maybe being our group's adviser, so that's going to be awesome. I also had this revelation that the dress swap group I started on Facebook should really team up with the Care Closet at the high school, so I'm going to have to talk to someone about that. Now, can I go to Abby's for one last hurrah? And I'm taking all our board games."