So much to write as usual, but let's start with the most important:
Talia started kindergarten! (Brooklyn began second grade as well, but I don't have any pics yet so we'll talk about that cutie later.) Like Brooklyn, Talia is enrolled in a dual immersion Spanish/English program at Dixie Sun Elementary. Even though it's an all-day program, she's transitioning marvelously. She and Brooklyn walk hand-in-hand to the bus stop in the morning, and Talia is all smiles when I pick her up in the early afternoon. (The first couple weeks involve lots of kindergarten testing, so the wee ones get released early.)
Here's a photo of Talia after arriving home on her first day. I'm only accountable for what her hair looks like before school. I think today we may be headed to JCPenney for a free haircut.
Yet when I think back, our current situation is quite different from our first kindergarten experience. When we sent Brooklyn off to kindergarten, I knew practically nothing about the school or the area. We'd lived in St. George for a grand total of 2.5 days, and knew no one. I remember feeling panicked when asked to fill out a Student Information card because there wasn't a single person I could list as an emergency contact. I remember gazing around at all the other parents waiting to pick up their children, praying that someone would smile and say hello, because more than anything, I needed a guide, a friend. It was an anxious, lonely time for us all.
This time around, I know the school. Talia knows the school. She's tagged along with me for so long that its halls hardly seem unfamiliar. She recognizes her teachers. She knows some of her classmates. And standing by her side, guiding her through the whole process, is her sister.
This time around, I don't need to stand around with all the other parents waiting for kindergarten pick-up. With Brooklyn there to pave the way, Talia can ride the bus, and she needn't ride alone. And if I did pick Talia up, I would be greeted by a few smiles and many familiar faces. While it's taken a long time, we are gradually building a small network of friends that we trust and can rely upon. When I wasn't there the very first morning, another Mom noticed and took a photo of Brooklyn and Talia together. Because that's what friends do.
Looking back, even though I don't need to pick up Talia today, perhaps I will go anyway. Because I remember how lonely it can be. And perhaps, just perhaps, somebody else needs a smile.