We missed a year of school.

A full year of homework and teacher meetings and math  quizzes. There were no recess times or lunches to pack either.

We knew the kids had missed it but I realize now that they also missed it.

Not in a – wish we’d never left – kind of way, but in a “we can’t wait to see everyone and do it again” kind of way.

And it’s wonderful.

Because last week my kids ran into their schoolyard with the kind of excitement and abandon every parent hopes for.

A good day

The returning champions after day 1.

We prepped well for the morning.

The boys are now whizzes at making their own breakfasts in the morning so showing them how to pack a healthy lunch was easy.

And because I knew they’d want to make a good impression, a few weeks ago when I popped into The Children’s Place to check out their new fall line up,  I picked  up shirts emblazoned with their favourite video game characters that they were excited to wear. At the very least I figured it could be a conversation starter.

Our new approach to living well means that there were no huge back to school shopping trips. After a year of only wearing what was in their suitcase, everything old is new again so there was no need.

Almost Too Cool for School

Almost too cool for school

And one week in how are they doing?

1. They are excited to be back. Old friends have introduced them to new ones.

2. They’re tired.  After a year where naps happened when they were tired as opposed to when they were told, a full 8-hour school day is taxing. They’re adjusting slowly.

3. They talk about our adventures. Any fears of mine that our amazing year together might not stick in their memories are gone. They remember our time together and they smile when they recall it.

4. They are more mature and the teachers have noticed. More than one has stopped me this week to tell me how proud I should be of the little men that they have become.

And me?

1. I’m realizing how much they needed that year off. School is tough. It can be stressful and it is unrelenting.  Yanking them off the hamster wheel for a breather was what my two needed. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

2. School isn’t just about the kids. When they went back, our whole family went back. It was stressful for all of us to readjust to routines and continue to set boundaries for what we feel is important. Looking back I can see how easy it was to be swept into the chaos of school life. This year, us parents are a little better prepared for what’s to come.

What about you? How’d your week go?