Back to School Time in the States (aka What’s your name again?
Some “old” friends at the bus stop
So this past week, the kids started back to school. Just like all parents worldwide, I was MORE than ready for school to start. Even though they had an abbreviated summer because of the different school calendars in Ireland and the US, they were well ready too. Ready to see old friends, ready to buy fresh supplies and ready, as the 8yr old said, “to maybe even make some new friends”. One of the joys of being a kid is that the same person can actually be an old friend AND a new friend. Three months is a long time when you are a kid. It’s almost like dog years. I’m not even sure why we don’t count it this way. “How old is little Jimmy?”, “Why, he’s 4. But that’s in human years. In kid years, he’s 37, of course.” And the other parent would nod knowingly. Because they change that much in a very small space of time. If 3 months is a long time to a kid, imagine what 2 years is like. This is the amount of time we have been gone from the States and from our neighbourhood school. As we started the school year up and the kids began meeting their teachers and seeing their classmates for this year, I realized that we were having a totally different time experience. To me, 2 years flew by and it’s almost like we never left. I see the same parents in the classroom, the same teachers in the hallways, and to me the same kids, albeit bigger than they were when we left. But to the kids, they all seem like strangers for the most part. If not all together strangers, then distant acquaintances that they maybe met at party a while back and just can’t place. Two years is a HUGE percentage of their life and the younger they are, obviously, the bigger it is. For the 6 year old, it was 1/3 of his life so far. He was four when we left. And even though he has a girl in his class this year that he spent ages 0-4 with in daycare, he can’t even remember her name each day. I’ll say, “How was SoandSo? Was she at school today?”. He looks at me blankly and says, “I don’t even know who that is, Mom. ” He might was well add “Duh!” in there at the end, because he is clearly thinking it. For the older two, they do remember a few key friends, but even those have changed and aged and seem new and exciting. Which is a good thing, I guess. I was worried about it all being a let-down for them after the excitement of being expat kids. But so far it’s been great. And weirdly familiar. Kind of like an cocktail party for Alzheimer patients. “You’re a handsome devil. What’s your name?”…….
1st Day of school 2013-2014 (Look how dark it is! It’s EARLY!)