The end is here

Readers, it is with utter joy that I tell you that the kids are asleep, and T and I have had celebratory compost dinner salads (I know, don't we sound positively wild?!) in honor of the last night of summer. School is here. I'm singing that both out loud and in my head with the vigor a northern northerner might declare, "Spring has sprung!"

The first day of school is such an exciting one. New supplies, seeing friends you've missed over the summer, meeting your teachers, checking out your classroom. The opportunities feel endless. At least, this should be the case. It's tragic how many kids go to mediocre or just plain bad schools; those that are underfunded, lacking in community, poorly led and weakly taught. But I digress: that's another story for another time.

My boys are so lucky to attend such an excellent school. For them, the opportunities really are endless, and so although I am off-my-head excited about them returning because I'm kinda sick of them being home all day every day and we ALL need to get back to normalcy and routines, I'm also full of enthusiastic anticipation about all they'll learn and discover this year.

In so many ways, I was a late bloomer. Though always a good student, I didn't learn to really learn until the second half of college. My large public high school was a decidedly average one: a few great teachers but for the most part, I came away with a strong ability to memorize (which will only get you so far, which is not terribly far), solid writing skills (thank you, Mrs. Wyche) and a serious inability to truly synthesize and analyze information. As such, learning, as opposed to grades, didn't much excite me until I got it. When I started studying religion (I majored in Religious Studies, minored in Euro History), I realized how thrilling an intellectual pursuit could be. It is one of my most serious regrets that I didn't find all this out until nearly two years through Northwestern. What wasted time and chances, though really, the extreme partying I did freshman year was a real rite of passage for me too. It had to be done, and damn if I didn't do it like any good Type-A goal-oriented gal would. A+ for me.

The kids are getting all this much earlier I think. Their curiosity and imaginations seem to know no bounds, and so they suck the marrow from school pretty much every day. I attribute a lot of this to their having been blessed with amazing teachers who praise curiosity, who teach them how to seek and discover, who show them how much fun learning is. I have been inspired to be a better parent more times than I can count by their teachers and know how lucky I am to be able to say that.

I always cringe when people come up to the boys and say, "aren't you glad school's almost out for the year?" or "you must be so sad that summer's over and you're heading back to school." Neither thought has ever crossed their minds, and I hate to think of such inklings being introduced. They love school because it is fun. It's exciting. They have tons of recess and play time but also huge amounts of real, active, hands-on, engaged learning.

And so I will bring them tomorrow, walk each sweetie in, and almost dance away after goodbyes, not only because it's seriously time but also because wow, school rocks!