My facebook has been a stream of first days of school—specifically, the first day of kindergarten. The playmates of my youngest are now boarding the big yellow bus, with all the photographs and fanfare appropriate to such a milestone.
And we’re doing it differently. My youngest will begin cinco anos—Spain’s answer to Kindergarten– on Tuesday. But unlike his friends back home, there was no greet-your-seat, or meet-the-teacher. We don’t know her name. I won’t be volunteering in the classroom, or even seeing the classroom for awhile.
It’s just how they do it here. He will be the only American in his class, which is exactly what he needs. And I know—-just as I know that I breathe, and that I dream—-that he and his brother will thrive.
But a part of me mourns that there will be no yellow bus, or Kindergarten. There will instead be our daily walk by the panaderia, and cinco anos. It’s possible that his first book will be in Spanish, and it’s even possible that he will leave here with a flawless Spanish accent, but with slightly accented English.
It’s a different journey.
Last weekend, we went on a dolphin-watching cruise near the Strait of Gibraltar. And my youngest, bless his heart, got seasick. Teary and woozy, he laid on my lap, closed his eyes, and feel asleep. I sat on the bench, listening to his deep, throaty breath. His face relaxed, freed of the lurching, and the terror of in-between. He had me.
And as he slept, I looked out the window, and watched the dolphins, dancing in the waves, slipping and diving. Joyful bursts of silver light, slicing the water. And then….in a sparkle of light, flying fish sprinted across the waves.
I gasped. He reached for my hand, and I let him hold it, as he shifted once more into sleep.
And in that moment, there was wonder, and there was peace. We were exactly where we belonged.
We are doing it differently here. But this too is temporal—while we? We are eternal.