Living large, in 1st grade and beyond

Although yesterday was a repeated experiment in frustration management AND I did not prevail over the Fed Ex guy, I am still smiling. 

For one thing, what was once Jack's tendency to tuck all shirts (tees, pajama tops, jerseys) into all bottoms (shorts, pants, pajama bottoms) is now the only way he rolls. It is fairly nerdy and wholly charming.

Secondly, Oliver drew this for me on Tuesday and explained it as such: "Mom, this is me at school thinking of you."

I am telling y'all, that boy has an expressive fire lit under him and is drawing and writing to beat sixty. He's always loved art and creative pursuits, but 1st grade has so far been a remarkable lens through which he can focus his efforts in concrete ways. 

Last night was Ol's Back to School Night, and as I did following Jack's, I left feeling so grateful and excited. The pedagogical and social-emotional goals behind everything that happens in class are like a giant, interconnected web that makes my head spin. How the teachers can hold those goals AND their very since appreciation and love of each child present throughout the day is awe-inspiring. Seriously. Did you know how many mathematical exercises can be found in a written morning message on the dry erase board??

During the summer, Ol was a hesitant reader lacking in confidence and a writer who stuck with the words he knew or didn't feel silly asking about (he tends towards the perfectionistic and away from academic risk-taking). Last night, I thrilled to see his goal (below) because it shows me that already his confidence and desire to take risks are soaring. 

It reminds me that those who are taught by great teachers win one of life's big jackpots, and that always we are benefitted by being around others who value our strengths, our struggles, and what makes us each unique.

In supportive spaces like that, we can be brave and take risks and fall and learn. We can get back up and try again, coming to deeply believe that life is enriched by living large and authentically. Especially if you want to tuck your shirt deep into your shorts to do so!