On Wednesday, my school held meetings for the teachers and staff and then for parents. During the parent meeting, there was childcare provided for the children of the parents. We were all working together to figure out how to have students reenter school on Thursday after the tragedy on Monday. My school is a mere block from the Boston Marathon finish line. Most of the families and many faculty live nearby, and their neighborhood is filled with media trucks, reporters, cameras, and law enforcement. On my way to school I saw many soldiers toting automatic weapons and rows of police barricades. This is a difficult environment for students to reenter school. Though no plan is perfect and all of the members of the staff are in different places with their process, I think the school is in a good place to move forward. I am warmed by the caring and thoughtfulness that was on display Wednesday as we worked together.
My daughter is on break right now, and so we have not had to deal with informing her of the incident. She saw my reaction to the Facebook check-ins and the subsequent information I gathered on the situation as it happened. I let her know that there was an accident near my school and that some people were hurt and that some people were helping out. Before Monday, though, my wife and I will need to fill her in on more details. There will be students in her class who have had unfiltered or only partially filtered access to media and know in detail what happened. We want to send her to school with the information and tools she needs to process this and be healthy.
I’m not sure why so many short stories and essays we read in high school were so grisly. “The Most Dangerous Game,” anything by Poe, “A Modest Proposal,” and “The Lottery” all come to mind as appealing in a sick way to my teenage mind but also clearly standing outside as disturbing. “The Lottery” takes on new meaning when faced with filling out paperwork to participate in the limited choice lottery for Cambridge Public Schools kindergarten slots next year. My daughter will be going to school; we just don’t know where. We submit our papers and wait for the winners to be drawn. We luckily have some very good choices, so I don’t think we’ll be in Mrs. Hutchinson’s shoes. The wait, however, is excruciating.
Saturday was parent work day at my daughter’s school. One parent from each family turned up to help the teachers get their rooms ready for the school year. Amongst other jobs, I sharpened all the pencils in the room, and in doing so managed to overheat and break the art teacher’s pencil sharpener. After a short walk to an office supply store, I resumed sharpening. The result is lots of potentially too sharp pencils and a brand new sharpener in the art teacher’s room.
There was lots of joking during the work, and I got to meet parents from the new groups of students my daughter will be with this year. She and a few others from her class were promoted two groups up, so she will have a new cohort of children to learn with a few familiar faces. If today’s interactions with the parents of those children was any indication, my daughter is joining a great group of kids. Yay for school starting.
Now that I am nearing the end of my school year, the summer stretches in front of the family. We are all on an academic schedule, so the summer offers the chance to change things up, but I find if there is no schedule, I don’t get to the things I want to. I also think the kids benefit from comfort of a routine, and that routine can be broken as needed.
There are some built in scheduled things for all of us. My daughter is attending a music class for a week, a soccer camp for a week, and her school for a week. On top of that, my wife and I have committed to getting the kids in the pool often. My son has a standing care day with our nanny share. I will have a professional development week in NYC, and my wife may also have a similar experience coming up really soon.
We have scheduled two trips to see family.
Amongst all that, we hope to take family adventures in the area to the beach and to hiking places. We hope to try out camping. We have lots of hopes. My wife and I have a long list of projects we would like to tackle.
Blink. The summer will be over! I remember as a kid thinking the summer lasted for a long time, and I remember when that perspective changed. Maybe it correlated with how school changed.
On Thursday, my daughter rode her bike all the way to school. Previously, I pushed the double stroller with both kids all the way with the occasional bit of walking by my daughter. One day she even walked all the way home, but this is not a practical way for us to get to school. It took about an hour and a half.
The day was gray and drizzly–the kind of day that folks around here love to complain about. I love being out in cool, damp weather. I also love what it does for my garden and all the plants around. So we put on rain coats and set out for school.
Because of the rain the night before, there were significant puddles on the sidewalk, especially at the curbs. Before this trip, my daughter usually kept her feet on or close to the ground when using her walking bike. It was really a walking bike rather than a glider. The puddles, however, created a fun reason to pick the feet up, and as the walk went on, she became more and more comfortable gliding and going fast. In fact, I added a bit of extra time figuring she would take breaks or some other issue might happen. We did the normally 30 minute walk in about 20 with me jogging to keep up. The walking bike became a running bike!
I love how confident she became even in this one journey; her balance improves, and she is getting ready for a pedal bike. She already has declared that her pedal bike must have a basket for carrying things.