Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School

We've had two weeks of school now, and overall third and sixth grade each seem to be a rousing success. Two is, of course, still at the same school, so his adjustment time has been minimal. He should have increased work this year and a push towards more independence in getting his work done, organizing himself, and so on - which he needs and which I hope he is ready for. He's quite capable of being ready for such things if he cares to be; whether he will put in the effort to care is all that remains to be seen. He is thrilled to have a number of good friends in his class, and he seems very well-matched with his teacher. He's added art club at school to compensate for missing classes at Glassell this semester, and he's trying out soccer for the first time. Busy? Yes, he's busy. But so far he loves soccer and there's no way he'll have anything but a positive reaction to art club, since art has always been one of his favorite subjects. I think he's set to have a good year, and to grow even more independent as he navigates the school building without his brother there for the first time in a while.

One is having a typical tween's reaction to middle school. He loves it, it's wonderful, he loves his teachers, he wants to learn, everyone is nice. And then he stresses out: he knows his work will fall short of perfect, he's worried he's not making friends fast enough, what if he's tardy and gets a lunch detention, and so on and so forth... As I said: a perfect tween reaction to middle school. He started down the path this afternoon while finishing up his homework (which has been blessedly light for the first two weeks) by telling me "but when I get this done, there will just be more assigned tomorrow, and then the day after that, and every week there will be work, and I don't how I can make it all year long." Followed by a loud sob. And so I rubbed his back and told him gently that, yes, Virginia, there is a lifetime of work ahead of him, and then at 80 he will retire. And that no one in their right mind looks at all of it at once, dangling out there in the future, waiting. He needs to learn - he is learning - to focus on the task at hand and to take small bites of the work that is to come. He'll figure it out - but why I was surprised that he came to me with the "I'll work and never stop" idea so soon, I don't know. This is the child who kept me in his room for a full hour past bedtime when he was four: "I don't want to die! Death comes for everyone someday and it will come for me and I'm scared and I don't want to die." At four. My friend Jenny calls it "existential angst", and One has it in spades, unfortunately. But he also has a lot of resiliency, which is why (I guess) I haven't heard a whole lot about the fear of death in the past seven years. And so I tell myself: this too shall pass. And it shall, and hopefully the joy and optimism remain. They have before, and so they will again.

As the top of the blog says: all of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. Rinse. Repeat.

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