Monday, August 26, 2013

Back To School

Today was the first day of school for the Blackwell boys. Benjamin started 8th grade and Cava is in 2nd. 

We started off our morning with breakfast and some Mandisa playing (especially "Good Morning" and "Overcomer"). 

Once the boys were dressed and ready, as it has been for every first day of school, I had to take photos of them. To my surprise, Benjamin didn't balk at having his picture taken (I guess he realizes resistance is futile); in fact, he even wanted to go first.

And then Cava.

Of the two of them, Cava was the most excited about starting back to school. He's been ready to return to school for some time. I think he both needs and likes the regiment that school requires. All throughout the morning, he kept telling me, "Papa, I'm so excited." He even began singing, "It's school today. It's school today."

As we got in the car for the mad scramble to get them both to school on time, we did pause so that I could pray for them and for, not only their first day of school, but for their school year. Just as we have with every school year, we turned on our favorite Christian radio station. 

The drop-off line wound itself throughout the parking lot and we took our place in it, unlike those whose time is far too important for things like drop-off lines and who either cut or pull their cars up beside the line to let their kids out. This is a real pet peeve with me but I kept my ranting to a minimum since Cava picks up on that and begins to mimic me in his irritation. Impatience is not something I want to pass on to him. When it came time to let Benjamin out, I was glad that Cava joined in with me in wishing Benjamin a great first day and that we both loved him. 

Then it was the dash to Cava's school, Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons" came on the radio and it filled me with joy to hear Cava singing along in the backseat.

Once we arrived at the elementary school where Cava will now go, I walked him inside. He was so happy and greeting anyone and everyone he saw with, "Good morning," and, with one child, he said, "Hello, little boy. What's your name?" He was in the best mood and it only got better when they showed us the room where he'd wait until it was time to go to class because the TV was on and the kids were watching Curious George. "It's George," Cava exclaimed and then greeted all the other 2nd graders who were in there with, "Hello kids, I'm Cava!" When the teacher who was in there asked if he wanted to tell me good-bye, Cava just waved from the other side of the room and told me, "Bye Papa." It made me so proud that he entered without any of the anxiety he has exhibited in the past.

Throughout the day, since I took the day off, as I did my errands and house cleaning, I took time to stop what I was doing and pray for my boys, Megan and Madison, and other kids we knew who were starting back today. Of course, my mind returned again and again to Cava. 

For anyone who's read my blog knows, the school year last year ended in disappointment and heart break. But we have hope this year because Cava is a different child. He has grown so much since he's arrived and he's begun to be able to express his emotions through more than just anger. Cava gets easily frustrated and needs someone who can listen to him and calm him down. I also think it will help that he can now speak and understand English now, so that he'll understand what's going on around him. 

I missed he and Benjamin, greatly, as I moved about our quiet house. It was too quiet! Over the summer it's been filled with kids, laughter, games, and the kind of memories I'm glad I got to be a real part of. I missed hearing "Papa" or "Mr. Elliott." Yes, I was going through withdrawals! 

Since it was the first day back, I picked Cava up early. As he came down the hallway from his classroom, he greeted me with, "I'm sorry, Papa." Not what I wanted to hear right off the bat, so I asked him, "For what, Cava?"

"Me no have homework today," he replied. Only Cava would be sorry for not being assigned homework. I know those words would never come out of Benjamin's mouth.

During the car ride from Cava's school to Benjamin's, I asked Cava all about his day. When I inquired about what he liked best about school, he smiled, "Everything." He did math that he said was "easy," colored, did a word search, played on the playground (mostly the monkey-bars, of course), and ate a corndog and grapes for lunch. I asked him if he made any new friends, he shrugged, "I don't know." 

"But everyone was nice, right?"

"Oh, yes, very nice, especially the teacher."

Knowing Cava, I asked him, "Did you give her one of your big Cava hugs?"

"Papa," he blushed.

I was so happy to hear that he enjoyed his first day of school and that all went well. 

When the bell rang for Benjamin to come out, he, too, came out with a smile on his face.

As he got into the car, I asked, "How was school today?"

In typical Benjamin fashion, he answered, "Good."

"Care to elaborate?"

Like any teen, getting answers is, to use an oft-repeated phrase, "like pulling teeth." 

Still, when I asked him what he liked best about school, he said, "My classes with Megan." He also liked that they had lunch together.

Since I had promised them that if they both had a good day I'd take them to get a treat, we went to one of the boys' favorite places: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Both ordered their usual: chocolate covered with sprinkles. 

As we ate our doughnuts, the boys talked and laughed. I was glad to see them getting along and I liked that both had a great first day back. 


  1. Hooray for good first days!!! I think Cava's "hello kids!" Is too precious!

    1. Yes, hooray for good first days! I was just as happy to read about Brody's as I was about Cava's.

  2. My heart felt like it would burst reading this post for a few reasons.

    Firstly, Cava is NOT the same boy. Looking at his pictures he has a sparkle in his eye, a glow, that wasn't there before. He looks so happy you can literally SEE him developing a true sense of belonging.

    Secondly, it just seemed like such a great day. You are such a wonderful father. All the love and time and energy you invest into those boys is coming out and shining like God's love.

    I really really really was happy to read this post today!! God bless your family.

    1. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you wrote that about Cava. He's not the same boy. I see him growing physically and emotionally, but to read that you see that "glow" in him makes me incredibly happy to know that others can see this development in him. Thank you so much for writing that.

  3. Not only can I see Cava growing (he looks like an American now!), I too can see that glow that the commenter above posted. He looks so happy! You're doing a great job!

    Glad the 1st day went well. Like Cava, Ruslana needs the regiment and structure of school as well. She also loves Curious George! I'm sure these two would have a blast together!