I’m sure I say it every year, but I love fall. It is more a new year to me than the New Year. For the first time in a long while, I will not be attending school this year. This time, I am not jealous. I need a little break from formal education.
The kids are all ready to go. They are busy laying out their first-day outfits and fretting about their hair. Jack is excited to meet all the new kids in his class. Aimee has already had what seemed like a good first rehearsal for her musical theatre production. She will be walking back and forth to school this year, for the first time, and she has been furiously planning with her friends where and when to meet for the walk.
Like last year, it will be a busy year. We will have two different music lessons, two different choirs, the aforementioned musical theatre, and hockey, so far. There has already been talk of Patrol, cross country club, and curling. Oh, and soccer is not 100% done yet either.
I tried for a long time not to over-schedule my kids, which is why they are not in swimming, dance and karate, although I do confess to considering all of those at one time or another. I grumble about driving them all over the place to and from their activities. I grumble a little about the costs.
But it’s hard to deny them when they really want to try these good, wholesome activities. They learn from every single one of them – teamwork and music and communication and getting along with others. Being busy keeps them away from 7-11 and its hoodlums and sweet delicious poison, and from the TV and the Xbox, and artery-clogging, intellect-dulling indolence.
I find some justification for ink-spattered calendar by arguing that my kids are happier when they are busy. They are more organized, more regulated, by necessity. They are learning to think ahead to be sure they are prepared for their committments (Aimee spent the last few days frantically reading her script for the first rehearsal). They are forced to settle down earlier at night, eat on a more predictable schedule, and perform some semblance of personal hygiene routinely.
They had a great, if mostly lazy, summer. They fended for themselves most of the time, self-regulated from wake-up to bedtime. I think it was good for them – they were mostly tired and dirty, and were never brought home by the police, not even once. The house is still standing, and they did the jobs I assigned without much grumbling. There was far more tv than they have ever watched. But for the most part, they made good, healthy choices about what and when they ate, and how they spent their time. Physical activity was never an option – it was required, and not necessary to enforce either.
Summer has just been long enough for them. I think yesterday was the first day they didn’t actually plan an activity outside the house. They are just starting to show signs of boredom, and are more excited about school than not. That may change at 7:00 tomorrow morning, but for now, it’s working for us. I am looking forward to their brains beins stimulated again, though. Neither has voluntarily picked up a book that wasn’t a comic since June.
So we’ll see what the new year brings. I predict more independence, more hormones, hopefully enough mild drama to keep everyone happy without any actual crises. I will happily watch them go off to school, and not miss the challenge of higher education for myself, this time. I will transfer the challenge to the task of geting everyone where they need to be, on time. That will be enough for now.
First day of school pictures to follow soon.