Back to School, Ring the Bell

My kids transferred back to American school this year, after three years in the Spanish public school system. It was not an easy decision to make, but we ultimately decided it was time. In the event that we return to the states next year, I would like my children to be prepared, especially the oldest, who will enter middle school.

Logically, it makes so much sense. But emotionally, it’s a challenge.

It’s special to be a part of another culture. To write letters to the Three Kings, to march in the Carnaval parade, and to roast chestnuts on the patio.

It’s thrilling to hear your children play with Spanish kids, their words and accents flawless and confident.

Intellectually, it’s fun for me to attend meetings, listening and responding in Spanish. Every encounter, conversation, text message, or written instruction, forges my Spanish into something better, something more functional.

Sometimes, American school feels so boring. I attend meetings, and nobody is arguing. Nobody smokes during PTA meetings. And believe me, there is no open bar at school performances.

My kids don’t wear adorable uniforms.

But go back and read all of the above. Do you see who really misses Spanish school? Me.

I miss feeling special, I miss my friends, and I miss the ego boost which Spanish school brought me.

You see where this is going. Yes, my kids miss their friends at Spanish school. They miss the earlier days, the lunches together in the afternoon.

But they love their new school. Beautiful playgrounds, and bathrooms with soap. English. Lots of compassion. They come home smiling.

This is where they belong.

I think it’s harder for me to say goodbye to this chapter in their schooling, because it isn’t my normal. I know how extraordinary it is to learn in another language, while for them, it’s called Tuesday.

I watch my resilient little people, still dwarfed by their backpacks, face yet another new place with open eyes, wide hearts, and a strength that catches my breath.

I’m so incredibly proud of them.


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