I've been thinking a lot about G-Man starting kindergarten. Ever since we went to registration on my birthday. Would I be excited for him? Would I cry? Would he cry? Would he like it? Would he want to go back the next day? What would I do all day without him home?
That was about the extent of my pondering on the start of school until a few back-to-school blog posts triggered a memory of something I wrote down at the Power of Moms retreat I attended this past spring. At the retreat, we were discussing the idea of being more deliberate mothers, and something Richard Eyre said really jumped out at me. He said that even if we think we don't have a family identity or economy or family traditions, that we actually do. Patterns and behaviors can spring up unbidden - so we can let those patterns become part of our family culture, or we can be deliberate about our family culture, family economy and our family traditions. And by doing so, we can shape our family units into the kind of communities we want them to be.
Suddenly, the start of school wasn't about how I was going to react, but what I could do to be proactive. I had the opportunity to craft some traditions that might be helpful in getting G-Man through this transition and would knit our family closer together in the process. I'd always admired Stephanie Nielson and her back to school feasts, and my friend Allison and her tradition of having fresh-baked cookies for her boys when they get home from school on the first day. So, I decided I should start there. A special dinner and a "cookie talk" after he got home from school.
(I'm kind of terrible about starting traditions, because I am not sure I want to COMMIT to keeping them going forward. But my new attitude is - if we like them, we keep them. If we don't like them, we lose them.)
And so, our night-before-school-starts-special-dinner was born!
I'd been wanting to have a family theme for quite some time, so this was the perfect opportunity. As Diggity and I discussed what we wanted G-Man to work on and do this year, I came up with the theme "Be a Builder." I made a little centerpiece using G-Man's old building blocks, and we talked about how he loved to build things with them when he was L's age. But now that he is older, there are other ways we can be a builder. We can build people up with our words, we can build strong bodies by eating right and exercising, we can build our brains by working hard at school. He understood, and he was excited about it. And he was thrilled to have a dinner filled with food that he picked.
After dinner, we gathered together and Diggity gave G-Man a special father's blessing to start the new school year. He was so excited to go to bed so he could wake up the next morning for school. He mentioned ways he was going to try and be a builder at school the next day, and how excited he was to go and learn and make new friends. It did my little mother-heart proud.
I think we found a tradition that we're going to keep.
What are your favorite back-to-school traditions? How did you spend "back-to-school eve"?