We’ve been home in Los Angeles for a week now. The whirlwind of our return has just deposited me down to the ground and I can finally take a breath!
We came back a couple of days before both our children began their respective school years. As usual there were a hilarious number of essential items to be acquired. From mountains of stationery for my eighth grader to a sleeping mat for my three year old, who had her first day at preschool Wednesday past, we ran the gamut of last minute purchase hell. It was a somewhat frazzled parent who drove to Lakeshore Learning Store at the eleventh hour on Tuesday afternoon only to be cheerfully informed that a customer had just departed with ALL the remaining sleep mats in the store. And a grimly resigned one who then took out her cell phone and ordered said item for same day delivery from the behemoth we all love to hate!
A series of such incidents in fact occurred in the first couple of days after our arrival stateside: a wilfully flat car battery on the morning of my son's first day at school, a suddenly broken sandal on the playground and a promised Uber ride which failed to materialise- resulting in a long and shoeless trek home. Almost as if some mischievous holiday sprite had packed himself into our suitcases and was delighting in pointing out how very far we now were from our French idyll!
The speed with which the school routine resumes and our children swing into gear amazes me afresh each year. As a teacher, albeit one who has had a long time away from the classroom, it is always the month of September that gives whisper of new beginnings; a time for aspirations and great possibilities.
My daughter is settling in comfortably to her preschool, The Southern Californian Montessori School, a mere five minute drive from our apartment. I knew it was perfect as soon as I toured it last year. The school has been in existence for over forty years and has the confident air of a place that knows exactly what it is doing; with methods that are tested and true. She has danced happily into the warmth and calm of the atmosphere there and the experienced staff are an absolute delight.
With my charges both safely at school it is time for me to take a breath in every sense; as a stay at home mum does when her youngest chick is taking the first fledgling steps of her school career. For the past few years the road ahead has been straight; now things have changed a little. New vistas are opening up and it's time to give my imagination and creativity free rein. To quote one of my favorite childhood literary heroines, ‘…my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend but I’m going to believe that the best does.’ (Anne of Green Gables, L.M.Montgomery)