As Sugar has gotten older, she has stayed in love with school… despite the dramas of being sat on by an older student, then picked on by a group of girls that she had considered friends last year. However, her love for learning and school overrides the playground drama and she looked forward to the first day with breathless anticipation.
But she’s cool now. She lets her excitement show at home and will spend an hour showering, dressing, creating elaborate hairstyles (braids are hot this year, thank you Katniss! That's the first place I saw braids anyway!). As soon as she’s at the bus stop or around her friends, she’s cool as a cucumber. She doesn’t let the others see how much she loves this place called “school” and this process called “learning.”
I’ve always told myself that she is that way because she’s easygoing and loves to be around people. She loves to see old friends and make new ones. Any time she’s ever learned that there would be a new student in her class, she sets out to make the new kid feel welcome. There’s no one she won’t talk to. She even made an effort to befriend a severely handicapped girl we knew. Any time Sugar saw Michaela being wheeled down the hallway she’d run over and squeeze her hand and say hi, knowing full well that Michaela couldn’t see her, couldn’t respond, and probably had no idea what was going on. However, Michaela would smile at the physical contact of her hand being held, which Sugar processed as, “Michaela knows who I am and is happy to see me.”
She is a genuinely nice girl… she was born that way. That is not to say that she is “perfect,” I have blogged many times about the joys of her fighting with her sister, her head spinning when we do math homework, her forgetfulness. She is a spectacular human being armed with the gift of driving her mother batshit crazy on a regular basis. But that’s her job as a kid, right? To push her limits?
Spice is a different creature altogether. She’s sassy, rambunctious and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Her school career has only just begun, but she’s adored the time she spent in preschool with Pinky and she loved kindergarten last year. I am blown away by her reaction to her new school, teacher and classmates.
Spice is in love with everything first-grade related. She is mad about her teacher and is already bringing her handmade cards with pencils duct taped inside them. I'm sure the card will be followed up with treasured rocks, leaves and used stickers. She talks about new friends within her class and running into old friends on the playground. She tells me about who gets in trouble in class and is quick to point out that she does not, in fact her behavior is excellent (her words).
She is attempting to rearrange her bedroom a bit so that it looks more like her classroom. She specifically mentioned that her books are on her shelf all wrong. That took me right back to being in first grade myself and discovering the school library. Like a fat kid loves cake, y’all… being surrounded by books makes me feel like a junkie getting a fix. I felt that way at six, still feel that way today. In fact, my six-year-old self loved that library so much that she came home and made little labels for the outside of her books and lined them up in alphabetical order. There may have even been check-out cards inside the books. If that doesn’t scream dork, I don’t know what does.
I’m dying, waiting to see if Spice will make labels and check-out cards for her books, or if she’ll just line them up in alphabetical order.
I loved school as a kid. In fact, I STILL love school. If I could find someone to pay my salary and have me be a student for a living I would do it. The only thing I hated about school was gym class and you don’t have to take gym to get a Masters-WIN/WIN!
I delight in hearing the stories from my daughters’ schools. Every day is an adventure and there is no end to the number of good things that happen. I wonder if I somehow, with my love of books and learning, passed this excitement on to them?
I’m fully aware that many others I know (even within my family) don’t have the love of school or value education as I do. I also know that at any given moment either of my girls could decide that they HATE school and the days filled with dancing unicorns and sparkly rainbows will end. I am the mother to a first and sixth grader… I know these are the easy years. I am hopeful though that if I keep listening and helping and working alongside them, they’ll want to keep teaching me what they’ve learned every day.
Supporting their educations and encouraging them to do well in school can be the one thing I did right as a mother. After all, isn’t education one of the most important parts of childhood?
Education is one of the few things in this world that once you’ve received it, no one can ever take it away from you.
Cherish every opportunity to learn new things. Even if that new thing is, “Don’t sit next to Tommy during lunch because he’ll sneeze boogers all over your sandwich and then you’ll be hungry all day.”