I always get reflective at the start of a new school year. January 1st can do its best, but I will never be able to break the habit of marking time by the school calendar. The way I remember when we moved here is by noting it was the summer before Nels started his second year of preschool. Willem was still home with me. And now Willem is in first grade and Nels is in third grade.
Here they are on their first day of school back in September. We had California weather for the entire month, and it was so glorious that people eventually started getting nervous. Surely the balancing of the cosmic scales would require some horrible meteorological payback. But so far it has just rained all October, which is always the case.
After adjusting to the longer day, Willem is enjoying first grade very much. The first week he was a little concerned that he teacher was too "snazzy" (his word), but he has gotten used to that too. He much prefers first grade to Kindergarten, where he was always annoyed by being perceived as "little kid-ish." His dignity is very important to him, and he feels he gets at least a modicum of respect as a first-grader.
It's always a relief when school starts. The boys kept themselves entertained really well this summer, but by the end they were constantly at each other's throats. To the point where I wondered if things would ever be good between them. But I hoped. Because I remembered Nels telling me in first grade that when he felt lonely at recess, he talked to Willem ("in his mind" he reassured me) and imagined he was showing him around.
And, sure enough, when school started this year, I pulled away from the curb in front of the school and glanced back to see Nels with his arm around Willem's shoulders and Willem with his arm circling Nels's waist, and not an inch of space between them. They were both looking down at their feet to coordinate their steps, and they marched, together, into the building.