1) It's Back to School week here in our part of the United Kingdom, and while I was very ready for a return to the school routine, there's always at least little anxiety (the kids = new classes) (me = getting everything back on to a schedule and getting out of the house on time). I have to thank the Flylady once again - SecondSister's settling in was made *much* easier because of her shiny water bottle we ordered from the FlyShop. Her teacher admired it and the purple strap SecondSister had accessorised it with. SecondSister and new teacher = instant friends!
2) Another Back to School take: one of the things I love about the girls' (Christian) school is the fact that the pupils who are already there take care of the new starters they already know from either our church or the families they know from other local churches. I remember FirstSister's first school visit being improved by a smile from the daughter of a friend from the local Methodist church. All over the playground in the past few days I have seen mothers of children I know from Pram Service and Sunday School and have been able to greet them as their little ones begin school for the first time. It has been a joy. First- and SecondSister have been keeping an eye out for the boys and girls they regularly see on a Sunday. They have been taking special care of two little girls they know at playtime. It reminds me of the wonderful thing that is our church family.
3) Sadly with Back to School comes back to petty arguments with 'best' friends and so on. I don't try and fix these things - and in fact at times I ask if the subject can be changed - but at times I will try and help put things in perspective. This morning I was hearing how FirstSister's special 'Popsicle Club' she invented during the holiday was being overrun by people she felt are hostile to her, and that one of her friends didn't want the two little new girls (mentioned above) involved. We talked about how clubs can be special but also make people feel excluded, and I mentioned how Jesus wouldn't turn anyone away from his club who wanted to join. I was thinking of the wider parallels of Christianity or even heaven here, but SecondSister had it all sussed:
"Jesus didn't have a club. He had a TEMPLE!"
4) I could do on about Back to School ad infinitum, but there other important things on my mind. The first is Leukeaemia. I don't know much about this disease, but I have followed the blog of Manic Mother (whose son has leukaemia) for some time now, and she has been asking us to share her knowledge and experience of the disease over the past couple of weeks as part of Child Cancer Awareness Month. Also, my friend is being sponsored to run a half-marathon in aid of her friend's little boy who has leukaemia. So I thought I should find out more about the disease, spread the word, and ask people to share and sponsor.
5) Rachel Balducci and Betty Beguiles are also fundraising this week. Rachel's sister and her husband are planning a visit to this clinic for a fertility consultation. They long to be blessed with children; I would do anything to help, and so would other people (one woman who has never met Rachel has even offered accommodation at her home for the duration of the stay.) Like the fundraiser for Betty Beguiles couch, this type of thing restores my faith in human nature. It's good to be part of a sisterhood coming together to pray and fundraise for the blessing of new life. Despite our three daughters, both my husband and I have what I believe is termed 'fertility issues', and I remember having to go through the tests and the longing and the sadness. Please add your support if you can.
6) The best thing I have seen on the internet all week is how some French employees are trying to outdo one another with Post-It note art. FirstSister, a definite artist, was amazed and inspired. I wondered whether the office workers got to make their creations during office time or whether they had to wait until lunch (although I do understand the French get a longer lunch break than in the UK. Sometimes with a restaurant meal. And wine. No comment.)
7) Absolutely randomly, I have this week enjoyed finishing the book Hetty Feather, by Jacqueline Wilson. We started reading it aloud with FirstSister, but she finished it on her own, so I tucked myself up and read the rest. We had reservations about FirstSister being exposed to Wilson's genre, which includes very realistic depictions of care home children, broken families and problems with siblings. But actually, it provides a good antidote to the old-fashioned stories of E B White, Laura Ingalls and Enid Blyton (which we love!) and I have carefully vetted what she has read as I consider some topics (domestic violence, alcohol addiction, children being left at home alone) inappropriate for her emotional age (even though her reading age would do fine with them.) And Hetty Feather is an amazing book. Set in Victorian times, it follows the adventures of an orphan from babyhood to her teenage years, and the trials and misfortunes she suffers. But it's so much more than that. I sobbed through half of it. It's a little bit Anne of Green Gables, a little bit Annie, a slice of Oliver Twist and a smattering of Jane Eyre but definitely a Jacqueline Wilson. If you get chance, read it, especially if learning about Victorian England is your or your kids' thing.
Have a good week, people.
*Thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for hosting.