So I am thinking I need to consolidate some efforts. Rather than one big, multi-linked sporadic post in this space, I’d like to try more frequent updates and include the entire text of my columns here. Since I have to go all the way back to September to catch up, there’s going to be a bit of a flurry of columns. Quite appropriate given the current weather, I suppose!

September was a busy month, with lots of exciting activity with my courses at Algonquin College in Perth. I also had a hand in proofreading the beautiful new Maple Routes Map for Lanark County and produced the monthly media release for Lanark County Council. That month also marked the first full month in my new role as Perth Police Services Board Chair. Never a dull moment!

Here is Past Deadline from Sept. 6, published in The Perth Courier. Stay tuned as I catch up on the rest.

Separation anxiety

In the olden days when I was a kid in elementary school (and we had to walk uphill both ways through seven feet of snow), we always knew in June who our teacher would be in September. Correspondingly, we either had the whole summer to stew about it or we could wait in gleeful anticipation (ahem).

At my kids’ school we don’t find out in June – it’s a surprise come the first day, unless you drop by in late August (as I often have) to ask. I am not sure why this is; it could be teacher placements and enrolments are still being sorted out over the summer.

At first I was undecided about whether it was better to know or not. With one worrywort in the family, sometimes not knowing works well. I mean, if the teacher is known and beloved, it’s great, but if unknown or known to be grumpy, it can be cause for much stewage at a time when the “dread” of returning to school is already high.

This year I discovered an advantage to waiting to find out. Learning the names of the teachers wasn’t a bad thing, but our kids know how to use telephones. In fact, they are so good at using telephones that, arguably, most people who have tried to reach Groom-boy and me over the summer have gone straight to voicemail. Thank goodness for cell phones that the children are not authorized to use.

Anyway, the short ones get on the phone with their friends and compare notes, and then the potential for drama starts. Boychild, being older and wiser, does not at the moment of this writing seem overly fazed by the fact some of his friends aren’t in the same class as he is. Hopefully that’s because he is realizing that the time for copious socializing is usually not in the classroom. (Harhar.) That all said, once Tuesday rolls around and reality sets in, this may be a very different story.

Already we have learned that Girlchild and her Very Bestest Friend are in different classes. VBF’s mother and I exchanged a flurry of e-mails last week to discuss where we would hide once this information was revealed. Diva Drama seems to be much more intense than Boy Drama, which lingers and cloys as opposed to drilling screeching needles into one’s brain.

Girlchild was less than thrilled with the news, which we decided to break ahead of time. The good thing is the advance notice allowed VBF’s Mom and me some time to strategize ways to ensure the girls still get plenty of hang-out time. We, too, recognize the classroom isn’t the best place for that kind of chitchat anyway.

It also gave me time to supply tales of woe about my own VBF going to an entirely different school across town when I was Girlchild’s age, and then she moved across the province. We wrote letters for a kazillion years and eventually reconnected on Facebook. (The Interwebs can be a mahvellous thing.)

I also remember Grade 7, when friends were separated by split classes and passed notes to one another in a textbook that had to be shared between the two rooms (the split class was one book short).

I didn’t bother sharing that story (so don’t tell!) for fear Girlchild and VBF will come up with some sort of elaborate communication plan. I suppose these days notes are passed via texting. We’re not quite there yet, fortunately.

Anyway, by the time you read this, all the various shoes – and possibly grand pianos – will have dropped and, if we’re lucky, any residual drama will have passed. If not, there may be a part two to this story….


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