As a mom, I have been very attuned to what Allen and Kyra are missing back in the United States. On the one hand there's all kinds of stuff we gladly leave behind - the traumatic years of being a girl in junior high, extensive drug and alcohol abuse (it's here just not on as large a scale), American self-indulgence, Northern Virginia traffic, etc. And on the other, I cringe at what we have lost in being away from a Fairfax County education, its level of excellence and diversity of classes. I miss opportunities for Allen and Kyra - big and small.
And in the midst of these "woe is me/ woe is my family" pity parties in breaks a reminder of how fortunate we are, how what we have here might never happen had we not picked up our lives and settled in rainy, foggy Belgium.
Such a moment happened last night. Last night was the fall sports banquet. It was a potluck in the school cafeteria. I can sense you are jealous already. But wait there is more - six teams, their coaches and parents were present and we got to sit and listen and clap for six teams (with their middle school, jv, and varsity divisions) passing out participation certificates, awards and gifts. All this in an echo-y cafeteria with a not so great sound system. I hope you are getting the picture.
As awful as the evening was, there was one shining moment that made it worth sitting through all over again. Allen not only received a varsity letter for cross-country but also a certificate for athlete acadmic achievement. Would Allen eventually letter at Lake Braddock? Probably, but not until his senior year and certainly not as a freshman. In a smaller school, with more individual attention and less fierce athletic competition, Allen has really stepped up both academically and athletically.
Had we stayed in the US, Allen would not know the joy of being on this cross country team (which is a great group of kids, their camaraderie is evident), competing in some notable places and reaching a level of achievement he (and his parents) can be proud of.
Even in the midst of the damp and clouds every now and again, a bit of light shines through