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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

Free Space

I am completely torn between: Yesss! Made it! and Now what am I going to do? I, like so many mothers about to send our kids off to school today to embark on a new school year of adventure, learning, and friends.

Please don't get me wrong, I do love and adore my kids. I love spending time with them. We have had so much fun exploring probably too many nooks and corners of the world during the last few months. The boys see and discover things I don't, and raise my curiosity about things I never imagined. I love sharing the things I am interested in with them, too. But. It's been a long LOOONNGG summer, and I dare say that all of us are more than ready to add a little more structure into our lives. We are ready for variety, too, in the people we spend our time with (friends, yay!), and new books and things to occupy our time. School is definitely a good thing.

Unlike the last three years where we were staying in the same post, now we've moved and are the 'new kids' and have to work extra hard during those first few weeks of school. I will continue to repeat my mantra to the boys: one can never have too many friends. They are fortunate to have at least two instant friends on the playground. No matter where in the world we move, they will have two people who will be by their side, no matter what. Not everyone is that lucky. I think it's so important to have compassion for those who don’t have such good fortune; Now, as new kids, they don't yet have that circle of supportive friends. I know it will be hard from them to really understand that they have left the security and casual acceptance of their circles of friends and now have to reach out to an unknown. You know what, though? Now they are the new kid, and have to show that they themselves have something to offer. They, too, want a circle of acceptance, right? I have to remind my boys to be brave, take a deep breath, approach the unfamiliar faces, and then they will find those that will share theirs. Repeat: one can never have too many friends. Three very important words to remember 1. Kindness. 2. Compassion. 3. Bravery. Repeated reminders will ensue for them to embrace these qualities, and be the force that embraces rather than rejects. Again, one can never have too many friends.

By far the best possibility would be that they come home raving about their teachers and their classmates. I would be happy with a tumble of new names, what interesting things they did at lunch and break, and how much time was spent on the school rules and procedures. I don't need specific details; I just want them to be excited about going back to continue their adventure tomorrow and the next day.

Friends, you probably will agree with me: we don’t send them to school to become the best at anything; school is not (or should not be) a competition. Kids go to school to learn, to be social, and to discover more things to be curious about. They go to school to learn who they are amongst their peers, away from mom and dad. They learn who their 'self' is, and how that person relates to other adults and kids. They learn their independence and develop their skills. They do not need to go through the motion of proving things to anyone but themselves. They do not need to prove themselves to us, especially; we already love them all; being ‘best’ doesn’t add to that. They do not have to earn our love or pride and they can’t lose it. They are loved. Period.

As for me? I don't know. I know I can and will stay busy. I know I am both ecstatic and sad because of the silent house. The walls don't bicker, and the furniture does not poke at its neighbors. I don't know what I'll do; haven't yet figured out what I'll do here at this post. Maybe I'll write more. Maybe I'll finally do one of the crosswords I've been dragging around all summer. Maybe I'll plan our fall break vacation. (I know I won't take a nap; it's just a house rule that I don't. I wake up WAY too grouchy.) I don't know how the day will pass, but I know I will be waiting at the top of our hill at the end of school, eager to hear about their day.

And after today? It's time to start thinking about what it is Susie wants to do while here at this post. Work? Volunteer? Become a lunching lady? Develop my bird watching skills? Maybe a combination of the four? I know for sure I will fill the time; I just don't yet know what with. Every post means something else to do, to discover, and to be involved in. Rather than looking at this as an arduous task - which it can be - I'm doing my best to think of this as the latest adventure that I get to take part in. The kids get to have one; why shouldn't I?

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