The day is upon us. Tensions have mounted in the LaTorre home anticipating the first day of the new schools for three of our boys. Jack is eager and confident with hardly a trace of worry. But he doesn’t know what I know. He does not get a bus service because his school is a mile away. And I’m not signing up for that service either! I’m that sort of a mom. School traffic makes me want to hide under the bed like my cat when I come into the room with her crate. Jack is going to pedal his little bike up three hills to the back gate of his school and learn to be responsible for his own transportation. I’m more than pleased to accompany him on my bike and meet him after school. We discussed practicing it all week, but somehow that never happened. I’m wondering if he’s going to get upset with this hill. It’s a good challenge. We’ll give ourselves enough time to walk much of it if necessary. There’s too much symbolism in climbing a hill every day in pursuit of independence for me to say, “get in the car.” And once he zooms down those hills on his way home from a good first day, he’ll be hooked.
His teacher doesn’t win any points with me because she gave Me homework for the first day. I was sending photos to Walgreens at eight last night for Jack to bring to school on the first day. Who keeps prints around the house anymore? Thankfully Jordan was dangling keys on his finger hoping to fetch those prints. I was happy to send him on that errand.
Jordan is remarkably calm about school beginning. He’s so excited about the ROTC class he has signed up for that he doesn’t care how big the campus is or that he doesn’t know a single person there. I am so surprised with his confidence. Was that all the karate he took when he was younger? Is this evidence of his faith? I hope so.
Kevin is another story all together. And who can blame him; middle school is not the friendliest place on earth. He said at the dinner table he’s “concerned”. After probing I confirmed this worry all revolves around the idea that he might have to sit alone at lunch. So I gave him the same advice I gave Donny years before when he started a new high school in the middle of his tenth grade. “Be the change you want to see” Ok, I stole that, but it is good advice. I suggested he look around and find a kid who is by himself and ask to sit with him. They can practice the art of small talk, then each day he can pick a new person and hopefully by the end of the week spark a friendship. He said he’ll do it. At least he’s not afraid to try that, or is he telling me he will so I’ll drop his least favorite subject?
I know practical solutions to big worries aren’t always what kids need. I’ll be praying for them all day long. I also picked up two little tokens made of pewter, one for each pocket. One says “hope” and the other says, “pray”. He can pinch those when the feelings are the worst. His own faith is his solution. This is how they learn to rely on God. It’s harder for us as parents to stand back and watch.
Kevin has a fantastic principal. We went to an orientation for all the new students in seventh and eighth grade to the middle school. The cafeteria was nearly full! This should be a relief that he’s not the only new kid. While the students went on a tour, the principal told the parents that by Friday we should ask our student who they are eating lunch with, and if by then they are still alone to give the counselors a call. He personally watches the cafeteria carefully to make sure no one is sitting alone. I appreciate that sort of concern for the emotional condition of the kids. My real worry is that the group of girls with flippy pony tails and short shorts don’t get a clutch on him! I see them turn their heads when he walks by then giggle and squirm. He’s a hottie. I’m not particularly fond of fast girls after my boys. Maybe I ought to mention this to the principal to observe in the cafeteria. Then again, I’m sure he does. It’s a good thing Kevin is a book worm.