Last week, Frances tried to sneak her blankie "Pink" to school. I will remind you that Frances is 10 years old and in the 4th grade. She tried to sneak her blankie, the one she's slept with her whole life; the one she named "Pink." I only discovered it because when I started to hug her as I dropped her off before school, I noticed she looked puffier than normal. She had stuffed the blanket in her coat and was trying to smuggle it on the bus.
I took it from her and finished saying goodbye before I took Benjamin over to his daycare classroom (located on the same church campus as the kids' before/after school program). As I was leaving the daycare, with the blanket still in my hands, I saw Frances' 3rd grade teacher. I waved and held up the blanket. "She tried to sneak her blankie in to school today!" I shouted with an exasperated laugh.
"She wore it around her shoulders all day yesterday," she yelled back. BUSTED!!
When I saw Frances that night I told her, "My spies said you were more successful in your smuggling attempts yesterday."
First her eyes got really big, and then she looked down, ashamed of what she'd done. Don't get me wrong, I didn't scold or punish her. It really wasn't that big of a deal. I don't want the blanket going to school because my grandmother made it for me 36 years ago and it's getting a little ratty. I also don't want her using it to be a distraction to her classmates. But I wasn't mad.
After I explained that to her, she grinned and asked me who my spies were. I told her there was no way on earth I was ever going to tell her who my spies were! It's no good having spies if you tell people who they are, right?!
Those spies are one reason I love living in this town. I written about my town before. It's a college town, which brings some unique challenges to the area, but that also brings unique culture. I hear lots of people saying it's too small, but I think it's a perfect size. Ken and I live within about a 5 mile radius of school, work, church, the grocery store and day care. We can, and do on occasion, walk or bike to those places; with and without the kids. I've been known to pull the kids in the wagon to the grocery store, use the wagon instead of a shopping cart, and let the kids walk back home while pulling our groceries.
I've heard people complain about the school my kids go to. I've said before it is a very impoverished school district. Most of the families with any kind of money pay to send their kids to private school. But I love the diversity my kids are growing up with. I love that they hear different languages and see different cultures every day. And the teachers there love what they do!!
We've talked about moving and some of the kids' teachers and afterschool leaders were worried that we were going to leave. I have been quick to reassure them that I hope to do everything in my power to find us a house in the same school district. We've made so many friends and such great connections that I can't bear the thought of leaving. I would lose half of my spies!
My family moved the summer before I started 4th grade. Before we moved I had some very good friends. I was very upset to be leaving them behind. I have since found one on facebook, but I'm still looking for the other (so click here if you want to read my plea). We moved to a very small town. I started there in 4th grade, and I made good friends. But I wasn't anyone's cousin and I hadn't been anyone's neighbor or best friend since Kindergarten. When I graduated 8 years later, I still felt like "the new kid."
Maybe that's just my hangup. I certainly don't want to pass hangups along to my kids. But I like living in a place where the woman at the grocery store deli has watched my kids grown up. I like living where we can walk to church and pass friends along the way. I like the fact that one of the 4 year olds from my very first practicum placement when I was in college just turned 18 and is teaching my son's Sunday school class! (OK, that one makes me feel old, but I still appreciate it!)
I don't want my kids to feel stuck here in this town. I will encourage them to go out and see the world as much as they want. I'll probably be sad if they decide to move far away from me when they get older, but I wouldn't stop them. Just, for now, I really enjoy living in a place where we can put down roots and grow a family.
How about you? Do you enjoy the adventure of moving around? Or do you prefer to settle in one place and stay there?