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Monday, August 19, 2013

First Day Of School Three Times Over.

First things first -- the winner of the Glitter giveaway is (drumroll) ... Lauren Nygard! Shoot me an email Lauren and we'll get you set up! Yay! And if you're dying to read Glitter but didn't win, pick up a copy
here for hardcopy or here for Kindle. But wait! The Glitterhood fun isn't over just yet ... so stay tuned! SAUCY.

Today, by the time most of you read this, I will have sent all three of my non-self family members off to new phases of their educational careers and lives.

As I've mentioned, Tova will be starting half-day preschool in the same classroom that Kiedis has occupied for the last year and a half. For whatever reason she's not eligible for busing, so I have to drive her, which will be an interesting experience for both of us. I'm actually a little upset for her that she won't get to ride the bus because she so wants to, just like her big brother, but I'm learning where to fight my battles. We're lucky they let her in at all, so I can spare some gas money and some time for a while. Besides, she has the opportunity to be involved in a fairly awesome sponsored literacy program just by happenstance of being in this specific class this specific year, so I'll deal.

But that doesn't mean I won't cry when I have to leave her. If I manage to actually leave at all.
First Day of School 2013.

Kiedis will be beginning all-day preschool at a new location. He isn't going to have the teacher we thought -- she took a new job in another district -- but through my connections I was able to snag a meeting with the new teacher, a man, and introduce my son to his new classroom and teacher. Having a different teacher than we anticipated is making me a little more nervous than I previously had been, but I'm trying to trust that it will be okay. And if it's not, well, I'm the wrong mama to mess with, honestly. But I'm pretty sure it will be okay. And his new school is literally a five minute walk from my house, so I can be there lightning quick if need be.

Of course, his new school time is an entire two hours earlier than the previous (and Tova's current) so pray that I woke up on time, got him on the bus on time, and that minimal tears were shed.
First Day of School 2013.

But the biggest change that I haven't really talked about all summer is that also at the buttcrack of dawn, Kyle will be driving nearly half an hour away to his new job in a new district.

Around the Fourth of July, his phone rang early one morning. On the other line was his old principal, the one who hired him into his then-current position, who had moved to another school in the district and was on the way out of the district and on to another principal position at a slightly better, yet still troubled, smaller middle-class high school on the outskirts of the northwest side of town.

And he had a social studies teaching position open. As well as the head of the social studies department.

We talked for days about it, letting it overtake our every thought. Kyle had done well in our home district, and he was definitely well-liked and on his way up. But the new school would pay a little bit more, the salary steps were steeper and quicker, and in another year several of his stipend contracts would end with no room for renewal, so we were looking at trying to do more with less by the time Kiedis began kindergarten.

His current principal (who had been a vice principal under the old one, if you can keep up with that) called and told Kyle to take it. We found out later he accepted a position outside of Columbus, and later still that the other vice principal under the old one also left the district.

So he took it.

Many people downtown and in his old building were understanding and supportive. He gave his proper notice and signed his new contract and we braced for the impact of changing districts -- a skipped pay period. We're in the finishing stretch and scrounging a little, but not nearly as much as we would be were it not for the generosity and kindness of both family and friends who gave us what they had that would help. Meanwhile, the anxiety mounting about the specific unknown quantity of his new paychecks and the sting of having to pay some bills late while trying to budget based on an at best guesstimate are the main reason I've been downing Tums like candy for the last three weeks.

Be that as it may, this weekend we packed up the kids and spent time setting up his new room, which is across the hall from a college friend of mine's, something that brings me much comfort. I helped count textbooks and label things while the kids watched PBS streamed onto an LCD projector from the iPad. I took the pictures they had drawn earlier that morning and stapled them to the lower corner of a corkboard so he had something to remind him of us while he faces approximately 170 new teenage faces on his first day. I met some of his coworkers and learned how to get to his school, though the distance (and his lack of a planning period) surely will cut down any impromptu visits as I used to do at the school ten minutes from our house and on the way to Tova's State Run Toddler Class, from which she has graduated.

I'll be the first to admit I don't like change. I don't like unknowns and extra stress and chances that it will not be anything close to what you've dreamed or planned. I don't like losing support systems and burning bridges and feeling the dread that always comes with going away from what you know. But I also know it's inevitable, and if anything, I have learned with this family to roll with some hellacious punches.

So if you have a minute today, send a good vibe or two out to my family -- to my kids, starting at new schools with new teachers; to my husband, starting a new job in a new district with new students; and to me, that I manage to get up on time and everyone where they're supposed to be and to only *minimally* lose my shit throughout the day.

And if you have an extra minute beyond that, please send coffee.