This school year has begun in a markedly different way than all our past years. After 6 years of homeschooling and a substantial location change, we took the plunge into a new normal in mid-August. Our kids are now attending a local charter school that we are quickly growing to love. This marks the first time my kids have left my side each and every weekday since they were preschoolers – a change that has been wonderful for all of us.
They are growing, making new friends, and finding their place in a social world. We have asked a lot of them and they have consistently stepped up to the challenge without hesitation, and I am SO proud of them for that.
This morning we undertook our newest challenge – biking to school. The charter school isn’t too far from our house by car (just under three miles) but the “safe” biking route that avoids major intersections and travels on wide multi-use sidewalks and on the Greenway takes us a bit out of our way so the trip totals about six miles.
We have done the ride before, but never at 7am when the traffic is getting crazy. I’m happy to say the trip actually went pretty smoothly, other than everyone yelling at each other about going too fast or too slow, complaining that the someone was being mean, griping that their brakes must be stuck, and other random grumpy morning-ness, not to mention the kickstand that lost a screw and its bottom half as we pulled into school. At one point I was informed that *this* is why we need a three-person tandem bike – so that no one would be ahead or behind and we would all be together. I’m not sure that’s the solution, but I guess you can never rule it out. 🙂
We did cut things a bit close leaving at 7:05, and that was my fault for assuming we would go faster than we did. The ride took about 50 minutes (Google maps said it would take 30). You get no pictures because the kids might have killed me if I took the time to pause. They are still at the age where it is really important to them to be at school early. If my own childhood is any indication, in a few short years they won’t even remember that concern.
The best thing about our ride was that once the kids were dropped off and their bikes locked to the rack, I got to ride away to start my day. I meandered back down the greenway and stopped at a park along the way with a grove of apple trees. I set my bike in the grass and picked a fresh apple for breakfast. It was crisp and sweet. Something about picking and eating that apple just felt comfortable. In that moment I was grateful for this town that feels more like home with each passing day.
I rolled on with my apple, nodding hellos to other trail-goers and letting the sound of traffic fade behind me until all I could hear were the whispers of the river as it quietly slid past. I crossed the wooden bridge with the familiar whumpity-whump of bike tires over boards and rolled my bike over the dirt to rest at the top of the waterfall. The quiet of the morning gave way to the sound of the falling water, gifting me with a restful, introspective moment.
These quiet moments of mom-freedom that were begun in the time shadow of full school days and have punctuated my August are to be short-lived. In less than a week I will be starting a new adventure – one I am truly looking forward to. I am excited to have this challenge ahead of me, and I know that the future holds good things.
But today – if just for this hour – I will sit by the rushing water, be still in the moment, and read.