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Family Chatter

The Start of a New Era

Is there anything new I can say about sending my baby to kindergarten? Any new sentiment to express; any heartstring left "unstrung?"

Probably not.

Not ground breaking but here it is...the eve of a new school year and soon, the wave good-bye from the curb as my baby boy, now a strapping five-year old, boards the bus. I cannot say this day comes as a surprise, or that on some level, I have not anticipated it eagerly since becoming a Mom in 2002 and again in 2005. While changing the "umpteenth" diaper of the day, pondering the latest in a series of seemingly endless sandbox quarrels between toddlers, or dragging my screaming and over-sugared preschooler out of a birthday party, the thought of this blessed day, so very far off in the future, when "both children will be in school and "Peace," at last, is mine" would drift into my tired head.

But here's the I'm not sure that I am ready. How will I feel on that morning, once I witness my newbie kindergartener and seasoned third grader climb the steps onto the bus and I turn back to the empty house? When Katherine began Kindergarten...I feel a little guilty admitting this now...but part of me was relieved to have only one child home for much of the day. "We're going to have a good time this year, Buddy," I told him...and we did.

In fact, we had three good years and enjoyed our simple routine of playing alone at home or with friends, trips to the library and to the mall, visits to Alum Spring Park and Kenmore. I am glossing over the refused naps followed by glassy-eyed afternoons that crept interminably towards dinner time; the play dates that involved squabbling, not sharing, or some other stress; the complete and utter meltdowns in the paltry toy aisle at CVS where, going against every instinct except the one to cease his wailing, I finally caved and bought him a cheap toy...yes, there were some not-so-good times, too.

This September, though, marks the end of an era. In fact, a friend who is a professor at UMW, says that I will join the ranks of the "retired" when school begins. Umm...I don't exactly agree but I will forgo adding another chapter to the "Mommy Wars" and only demur mildly.

After all, I do work a flexible part-time job which coincides with the kids' school schedule allowing respite from the empty house. From what I have witnessed, moms of school-aged children are still plenty busy with classroom volunteering, shuttling kids to activities, and the other daily details of family life/running a household. Plus, I have a huge backlog of projects that have been neglected this past decade ("good-bye" peeling bathroom wallpaper!). Once those projects are complete I will cast about for busy things to get me out of that very empty, very quiet house.

Anyone want to meet for coffee at Hyperion this winter...?

Mary Becelia lives in Stafford with her husband and two children.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.