After what seems like months of preparation (oh, wait, it was months of preparation), All-American Public Schools opened our doors (some newly refurbished) today for the start of the 2007-2008 school year.
My mommy duties involved delivering all three children to their respective school sites (Yes, I have three children attending three different schools. This will continue for another 5 years until Swim Chick and Gym Girl are together again for high school.) My work duties involved visiting all the classroom buildings at our five elementary school sites. With approximately 4500 students in grades Pre-K through 6th, that's quite a challenge. But, as I learned, not quite as much of a challenge as accomplishing the mommy duties.
We actually got off to a fairly good start this morning in Suburbia. Remember, I am operating in single parent mode since Adventure Guy is off at his sales conference. Having a husband who is an equal partner in this whole raising kids operation is fabulous, but getting used to that level of help and then having it disappear for a week is a challenge. But I digress. Other than a burned bacon incident (Gym Girl and Swim Chick cooked bacon, eggs, and toast this morning), things went well on the homefront, and we were out the door before 7:00 a.m. The plan? Drop Swim Chick off at her school (starts at 7:50 a.m.), swing by Soccer Boy's school to drop him at before school care, then drop off Gym Girl at her school (starts at 7:50 a.m.) and visit teachers and administrators there until time to go back by Soccer Boy's school to pick him up from before care, deliver him to his classroom, and visit more teachers and administrators at his site. It seemed like such a good plan.
Until I hit the traffic. The middle school where Swim Chick attends school is notorious for traffic jams. That is why I left the house at 6:55 to drive 3.5 miles with the target time of arrival being 7:15 or so. I should have known it was a bad sign when the traffic started slowing a good 2 miles from the school. We inched our way along until we finally arrived at the school at 7:30. No problem, I'd just revise the plan, now officially known as "Plan A" and drop off Gym Girl at her school, go to drop of Soccer Boy and return to Gym Girl's school for my visits. The younger two kids' schools are right next door to each other, so this would not be a big deal.
Until we came upon the flipped car. Yes, major wreck on the way to Gym Girl's school. We sat and sat through green light after green light until the police evidently arrived and began directing traffic. By this time, Gym Girl was panicking at the thought of having to get a dreaded tardy slip. Why couldn't all my students at All-American High have been that concerned about being tardy, I ask? I pointed out to her that there are no fewer than five school buses behind us, and that she will be fine. The principals understand traffic issues on the first day. Fortunately, I delivered her under the wire at 7:48 a.m. and she was not subjected to the horrors of the tardy slip.
Things did improve over all once I had everyone delivered. I was even able to reassure a nice couple who had just dropped their child at preschool for the first time. I came upon them first as I witnessed their escape from the classroom, leaving behind a wailing boy on the teacher's lap. I decided visiting another classroom at that point would be nice, allowing the teacher to get things under control without the assistant superintendent watching the process. By the time I had stuck my head in across the hall and made a bit of small talk, I was able to return to the first classroom and observe a content preschooler listening to a story, while still claiming the prime real estate of the teacher's lap. It's amazing what these preschool and kindergarten teachers can do. I watched teachers establishing procedures and building relationships that will carry them through the year, all in the span of a morning. Teachers at older grades do the same, but it's an art when your students are 4 and 5 and may have never been to this place called school before.
I was happy to run into the above mentioned couple later in my rounds of the school. I assured them that, minutes after they left, their preschooler was content and told them that my son had had the same teacher, that they'd be very happy with their son's year with her. They shared that they'd moved back to our state simply so their children could attend All-American Public Schools. It's comments like that that make my day and help me know that I'm where I'm supposed to be, making All-American Public Schools a place where any parent would want to send her children. 2007-2008 is off an running, and it's going to be a great year.