New School Year, New Possibilities.

Jude emerged from his first day of kindergarten looking cross-eyed, exhausted and hungry.

"Mommy," he said. "That was a very long day. Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"

"Of course," I said.

"And a nap?" he added. "On your bed?"

There are very few dilemmas in life that can't be solved with a PB & J sandwich and a nap, I think.

Although Jewel might beg to differ.

"Boys are so immature and irritating," she informed me after her first day of 4th grade. "I wish I went to an all-girl school."

I smile to myself. I know this won't last long, but for now, I'm glad she still thinks boys are gross. She's growing up too fast as it is. She's getting braces this month and earned a perfect score on the math portion of her STAR test. 100% whaaaat? This was the girl who struggled all last year in math. She just might reach her biggest dream, after all---becoming a NICU nurse.

"Mom, the Lord answered my prayer today," James told me after his second day of school.

"Oh really? How?"

"Well, I prayed I would be a good listener? And sit still this year? And guess what? Today my teacher told me I was very responsible!"

"Wow, James." And honestly, after last year's struggle, this is a huge accomplishment.

"Except. Well, I got benched at recess. For talking while the playground monitor was talking," he says.

"I see. Thank you for telling me, James. And remember, I expect respectful behavior from you---even if you're bored."

"Yes, Mom."

Someone else I know (AHEM!) got in trouble for talking too much in school. Must run in the family.

And later that afternoon, James came inside to tell me he'd given himself his own consequence.

"I wanted you to know I was sorry," he said. "So I cleaned out the pool's drainer basket, got the leaves out of the pool and put all the pool toys away."

My throat clenched up as I hugged him tight.

" Do we have to tell Dad about this?"

Awww, little dude, all we'll him is that you're doing a great job. 

I think it's gonna be a great year.