Yes they did! Artemis with a bit of residual deer expression in front of College Thurmann in Porrentruy. She had to be there at 8:10 a.m. It was very rainy. Notice how far away we are from the door and the other kids – wouldn’t want to be the dorky mom taking a photo. Parents were invited to join the students for the welcome meeting. Then the different class teachers came to the front, student names were called and then they all left in a clump, while the parents stuck around to ask questions and go on a tour of the school. Of the seven home-room teachers for her grade, two of them greeted each student with a handshake and an open gaze straight in their eyes. Artemis’ teacher, Madame Quelquechose was one of them. I liked her immediately. At the end of her day, Artemis managed the train home, and when I picked her up at the village train station she wore a big grin and was pleased at having figured it all out. 1:30 Monday it was time for Athena and Apollo. Their first school day was only an hour and a half in the afternoon, which seemed like not very much for all the dread that had preceded. But we walked them down and helped them each find their coat hook and classroom. In front of the village school. When I picked them up an hour and a half later, they seemed a little dazed but okay. Athena even was walking out chatting with another girl from her class. This morning when we walked across the playground, I recognized the group of 6th grade girls headed out away from the school. It took me a little while to realize that they were headed for us – they had come to greet their new classmate. They whisked her off merrily with them, and I almost cried for joy at their sweetness. After I walked them inside, wished the teacher a good day and left the school, I really did cry a little. For the last three years, I’ve been my kids’ teacher and responsible for their education. We spent our days together as a family. In that moment it felt like I had given up my identity. I know that it is for a season, and that I am still their mama and that there is a little relief mixed in there too at the weight of some of the responsibility being lifted. But still, that feeling in that moment was overwhelming. But, no time to be pensive! At 11:30 they have their lunch break and come home. And did this mama have their hot lunch all ready to go? Yes, she did, thanks for asking! Thai curry, too, yum. Then time for clean-up and a little lego playing. Then at 1:30 they went back until 3. This is Day 2, walking to school. Apollo sporting his new soccer ball slippers! In Switzerland, you wear slippers to school! You leave them at school, and there is a place to change out of your dirty shoes and into before class. Those shiny clean floors stay shiny and clean. But honestly, I don’t know how the children learn in slippers. I don’t think I could. When I put slippers on, my brain goes flopsy – time to relax. This afternoon, it was Hermes’ turn. Yesterday he was quite miffed that his school didn’t start until today, and today he couldn’t wait until after lunch. Hermes has slippers too. At 3:15, out came a parade of preschoolers, all wearing new reflective thingabobs for safety. He’ll goes back tomorrow morning. Tonight everyone is tired – me too – and feelings are all over the map. One is nearly giddy with mentally categorizing tomorrow’s classes and the people who she met today who may well be in tomorrow’s math class. One was quite discouraged at the long school day and feeling behind and classmates who were taking a little while to warm up. And Athena is almost perplexed at the friendliness of the girls in her class. At every turn they make sure she has understood what to do and has the right pencil to do it with. That girl has spent her life reading books about kids who are unkind to the new kid in school – Anne of Green Gables, By the Banks of Plum Creek, Bridge to Terebithia – I think she must have geared herself up for that. But these girls are nothing like that! Well, praise God, I say! Let us hope that is a foretaste of the year to come.