Be Kind

I wrote yesterday that my family is trying a new “experiment”. While some (maybe me) are trying to blog each day of Elul, we are trying to work on one mitzvah as a family each day leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Today I let my children choose the mitzvah we would focus on.

Today was the first day back to school.

My kids decided that we should be friendly and welcoming to anyone new, students and parents at school… but then my 8 year old piped up to say that really we should just work on being kind to everyone today, since everyone is starting a new school year. I found myself being even more friendly to the new parents and the returning students than I usually am. I also found this suprisingly exhausting.  I think I might have waited until day 2 or 3 of school, and chosen to focus more exclusively on my own children had it not been a declared goal.

At the end of the school day amid the complaints, whines, demands requests for different school supplies and excited descriptions, my kids actually reported to me on their own sense of accomplishment of their decided-upon goal. We will see if this exercise is met with the same enthusiasm when we must work on something that can be a lot less fun.

They were focused on this “project” of the day, their assignments and teachers and all of the necessary first-day-at-school issues at hand. While they were, I noticed with shock, amazement and a large dollop of wistfulness that I now have a house full of kids – a majority in middle and high school – and no longer a house full of preschoolers. I don’t really know when that happened but it feels like it happened all in the last 24 hours somehow.

By the time I woke up, breakfast had been eaten, clothes had been chosen and put on, snacks had been packed and some of them were ready to leave, choosing to walk to school. I have worked so hard to get to this point. I have spent many a morning muttering under my breath as I climbed into a van to buckle numerous car seats while my own pregnant belly got in the way. So I don’t know why it should be making me sad!

Thank goodness my three year old is still a little needy and can’t yet reach the seatbelt.

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