Today is the last day of my sons’ cursos at their schools. Looking at the first and last day snapshots, they are taller, and thinner in the face–the baby squishiness all but a memory.
They started the school barely functional in Spanish, and have left with language skills that surpass my own. When we walk the streets, inevitably a child will call out one or both of their names.
It’s been a year of letting go—of not micromanaging their study habits, of limiting my classroom presence, of letting them sort out the conflicts and challenges of cosas de ninos. As I walk by their school on my way to an appointment, I occasionally peer over the gate. I see them eating a sandwich on a bench, or playing a game of football or tag on the patio. They are learning, and sorting things out, and sometimes, I’m sure, getting their feelings hurt. And on other days, laughing so hard it aches.
Our local school is their home. They will not attend another school during our time here in Spain. Next year, they will travel with the same students in their class to the next grade. Both of my sons will have new teachers for the next two years. There will be more sorting out, adjustments, lessons learned the easy and the hard way.
I’m not the first foreigner to put her kids in Spanish school, nor will I be the last. Every story is different. Some kids thrive immediately. Others find their way.
My sons, day after day after day, got dressed, showed up, and walked through those doors. In many ways, they have been braver in the last nine months than I have ever had to be in my 39 years. And because they had to find their way, our successes are delicate and precious.
For the rest of the week, they will sleep in, walk to the beach, read books on the patio, and stay up late. They will go to a camp where they will learn to surf, and travel to Paris with their grandparents and family. They will swim until pruny, and eat sand-crusted sandwiches. They will be bored and occasionally terrible. And they will continue to grow, and their faces will shift yet again.
Come September, they will once more walk through those blue doors, and enter the school. They will return home.