St. Francis of Assisi School

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STFOA Newsletter

Friday, January 20, 2023

Dear Families,


Next Friday, we will start screening preschoolers for our 2023-2024 kindergarten class. As of today, we have 75 students applying for our 52 spots.  Applicants with siblings at our school are first on our list.  That being said, if you are a current parent and have a child whom you would like to enroll in our kindergarten next fall, and you haven’t fill out an application for that child, please do as soon as possible.
Thinking about our soon-to-be new kindergarteners has me looking back to my children’s first day of kindergarten.  My three kids all went to a public school for kindergarten. Because they were bus riders, and the school district wanted to check that all bus riders were accounted for on the first day of new school year, all of my children rode the bus their first day of kindergarten. The end of our long driveway was the bus’s first stop. 
My oldest, Katie, was the first to go to school.  She went to afternoon kindergarten.  After lunch, I, with her two month old brother in a front pack, her three year old brother holding one hand and Katie holding the other, walked down our driveway and out to the street.  When the bus pulled up and the doors flung open, Katie marched on without looking back.  She only stopped at the top step because the bus driver, seeing that I was trying to take her picture, said, “Wait. Turn around.”  I have a picture of her next to the driver, straight mouthed, big-eyed, and wrinkled brow.  Katie did not like new but bravely confronted it. 
A few years later, Ian followed Katie into the bus for the first time. Because we had discussed it earlier, Ian turned and waved at that same top step; his face serious and determined.  Ian wanted to do the right thing.
Two years after that, Nolan joined his sister and brother on the bus.  He had been watching for years, anxious to make it through the door. He sped up the steps, found a seat, and waived out the window.  Nolan was ready for a big adventure.
Each of those first days, as the bus pulled away, I said a prayer and then cried a few tears.  I was sending my well-loved child out into a not always loving world. Anxious, determined, or excited, it was hard to see them go.
All of my children are now adults.  They are people I both like and love. Much of what I feared would happen, didn’t, and other things that I hadn’t known to worry about, did. The days, weeks, months and years, the good, bad, mundane, and extraordinary, the triumphs and the heartbreaks passed, and with each they learned and I learned.  Through it all, even when I wasn’t aware; God was present.
Looking back, I realize that many of the things that seemed so important really weren’t. My children were more resilient and stronger than I ever believed. I now see how much the loving, showing up, community, prayer, faith, patience, flexibility, listening, laughing and the occasional hard “no” all mattered.
Knowing what I know now, I still would shed a few tears on the first day of kindergarten, as well as the beginning of junior high, high school, and college, and with their college graduations. Even though there were some hard time and long days during my children’s childhood years, the time flew by. Most of it was pretty great.
To all of you parents in the middle, the muck, and the delight of your children’s childhoods, breathe. Know that God is with them and with you. Much of what worries you now will be just a blip in their childhood and something that made them stronger, kinder, and more resilient adults. Your children will continue to amaze, worry, astound, frustrate, and delight you.  They will continue to fill your heart more love than you thought possible, and someday, if you are lucky and blessed, the five or six year old who once clung to your leg and cried or rushed through the door with glee on the first day of kindergarten, will make you a grandma or grandpa.
Breathe. Pray. Enjoy your children. Be kinder than you think necessary. Thank you for being a community that rises.  Reach out If you need help or can help.

Peace and blessings,
Rosemary Leifer

STFOA 1.20.2023 Newsletter