Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ABCs and 123s

There's nothing like new clothes, a crisp September morning, and yellow school buses to bring back memories.

As a kid, I loved school and the first day was no exception. It was a day to be celebrated, honored, and cherished. I'd wake up early to the smell of bacon, eggs, and pancakes - knowing my mom was in the kitchen making our favorite breakfast. I'd spend the morning making sure my hair was fixed just right and that my clothes were the perfect fit. My friends and I would meet up in front of my house and walk to school - full of energy, excitement, and looking pretty in our new clothes. Animatedly, we'd discuss very important things...who had moved away? Who had moved in? Was that annoying boy in our class? What would the lunch lady be serving? Would our teacher be nice? The night before, I'd have tossed and turned - mulling these same questions over and over in my mind.

I chuckle each year as I watch my boys go through the same things.

Nate with his 3rd grade teacher. 
This year, Nate is a third grader. Nate loves school. He does his homework right when he gets home. He takes pride in getting A's. He loves to write stories, do math, and read books. He's a social butterfly who loves to play with friends at recess and has waited anxiously all summer to be able to spend lunch with a buddy.

His biggest worry was his teacher. For 1st and 2nd grade, Nate had an amazing teacher - Ms. Campbell. Ms. Campbell was every parent's dream. She made learning fun and I firmly believe she is the reason Nate loves school and succeeds. Ms. Campbell was perfect for this kid - she knew how to take control of her classroom (and my little goofball) while encouraging silly senses of humor and curiosity. She helped us with the divorce - encouraging Nate's dad to become involved in the classroom, emailing me when Nate was having a rough day, and making sure both me and my ex were aware of what was happening. To say Nate and I would miss Ms. Campbell is an understatement. Needless to say, our fingers were crossed we'd have another amazing teacher.

The year is off to a great start. We walked into Nate's new classroom to a smiling, energetic woman who quickly introduced herself. When Nate shook her hand and introduced himself, she mentioned many great things she'd heard about him. They visited a minute and as I walked out, Nate whispered in my ear "It's going to be a really great year mom, I just know it!" Aww, my heart melted!

Marcus and Martin, sophomores!
Now Marcus is a sophomore. Wow, how that time flew! It's hard to believe that in no time, he'll be out on his own. While I usually try to focus on the present, I can't face sophomore without acknowledging that time has gone by faster than I wanted and his senior year will be here before I know it. Listening to his plans for the future take on new meaning. Instead of dreams, they start to take on shape - forming into a possibility that may become a reality.

Marcus has never really cared for school, other than the social aspect of it. He's one of the smartest kids I know. . . able to figure things out, memorize facts, and accomplish nearly anything. He just doesn't care for schoolwork, books, or paperwork.

He did tell me he was excited for school this year. I'm hoping he has some teachers that are able to engage and motivate him. Since he was 8 years old, Marcus has dreamed of joining the military and becoming a police officer. I was surprised this summer when he began considering other options. He's now wanting to become a wildland firefighter. His dad is a firefighter. My mom has been involved with wildland firefighting through helitack crews. He loves the outdoors and wildlife. He's athletic and strong - it could be a wonderful fit for him.

In the photo above, he poses with his good friend Martin. Martin also dreams of being a wildland firefighter and it's not hard to imagine both boys making that dream a reality. Martin's a good kid and that means a lot. He's respectful, motivated, and just an all around good guy. When your kid is a teenager, you worry about peer pressure and I believe having friends who are good is important - the kind that encourage the right decisions. Sending your kid into a high school is some scary business!!

My kids are both at school right now and I can't wait to get home and hear about their day. Listen to them tell me the highlights while we enjoy warm chocolate chip cookies and a glasses of cold milk (a family tradition). And I'll try not to think about how fast life travels as your kids grow up!

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