move up night

So last night was move-up night. At Cal's school, upper school covers 10th, 11th and 12th grade, so as a 9th grader, Cal has been in his last year of middle school this year.

It's exciting to hear about the changes that will take place as Cal moves into upper school. More freedom, more responsibility. More electives. More choices. More of everything. Good stuff, but daunting too as we face the prospect of college down the not-too-distant pike.

As we were walking in, we ran into the woman who'd been his 2nd grade teacher at another school, and it struck me then how funny school can be. How distinct the passage of time is, marked so specifically, year by year. And how nice it was to be there, walking in to face his 10th grade year with all his past years strung out behind him. Some of those years were not so great. Second grade was a good one.

This year has been good too, but always around April, I'm ready for summer. I told a friend of mine, another mom, that I think summer vacation should pretty much start the day after spring break, but I get restless like that. And if I'm feeling restless, how must it feel to this kid who drove us to school last night? My big kid. Flying high.

wonder land {life}

I've spent most of my life in the southern US. Aside from brief stints in Indiana (college) and Pennsylvania (during Neel's PhD program), I've lived mostly in lands of little snows. Most adults my age speak fondly of snowier winters from long-ago (ahem) childhoods, and frankly there isn't much less appealing that 35ยบ and rain.

I have great memories of the snow storms that hit East Tennessee when I was growing up. Listening for your school on the school closing list on the radio in the dark and early morning. Early school closing causing chaos in the hallways. Rumors flying in elementary school classrooms, and high school cafeterias. In my photography class last week, one of my students said, "I'm a grandmother and I look forward to snow days!" There was one year, and here's where the details are fuzzy (perhaps some of my Maryville buddies can help me out), where we missed school for a week. Snowstorm closed school for a Thursday/Friday. And then after the weekend another storm rolled in to close it to the next Thursday. Such giddy joy. My friends in East Tennessee have had a similar week again just this year, it seems.

As I think I told you, Cal had no school on Feb. 13 for Parent Teacher Conferences. The timing for this was great because it gave us an extra long President's Day weekend. And that Monday night, the first storm moved in. More snow than ice, our temperatures plummeted after that storm, keeping the streets icy for days afterwards. Cal missed school the whole week. It was great.

I think it's easy for people to be weather snobs at times like this. I can't believe you guys shut down for a measly inch of snow! The south can't handle the weather! You'd never make it here (insert some suitably cold climate)! You closed schools for THAT?  But here's the deal. We're not equipped, and why should we be? Yeah, we've had snow the past few years, but three years ago and many years before that, there was no measurable snow in this region. Kids don't buy snowsuits here; Cal generally wears only a hooded sweatshirt to school every day. Boots? Gloves? Mittens? Maybe. Only interstates and secondary roads ever get plowed; neighborhood streets are never touched. There's simply not the equipment to handle it. To plow every single street in one of our regional cities would take over 300 plows. They have 30.

So, it snows, but not often, and when it does snow we get hit hard. I'm kind of okay with that.

The ice from the first storm finally melted, and back to school we went. Record cold wreaked havoc on water pipes everywhere, and by Tuesday Cal's school had no water. Yikes! And that same Tuesday? Snow moved in, heavier than expected, canceling after-school activities. We drove home in snow, and by that night school was canceled for Wednesday. And that wasn't even the big storm. Wednesday night another storm moved in, dumping anything from 4-10 inches of wet, heavy snow on our area. School out again, all week. Storm after storm, our eyes always forward watching for new systems. It's been great. A winter to remember. I know, even when the details become sketchy for him, Cal will remember the glee.

And on Monday? We start Spring Break.