Plumfield always takes a full two weeks off at Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a lovely practice that allows for families to travel or to snuggle up at home, doing whatever they want to celebrate the holidays, without the pressure of having to rush back to “normal life.” My family traveled to Virginia for most of that time, during which my two children regaled their grandparents and family friends with stories of their love for Plumfield. “My favorite time during the day is recess – free time! We have a whole hour and can do anything we want,” was the most frequent lead-in by my daughter. When asked what she usually chose, her reply was with a shrug, “Any game with my friends.” My son often pointed out that he likes reading power, and that he is nearly done with his math book. Both of them were enjoying the break with family, but I noticed both wondering often about this friend or that friend. One would remind the other about a funny thing that happened at school, or would remark that a particular friend would really like this game that we were all playing.
Sometimes the transition back to “normal life” is smooth, and sometimes is less so. Certainly waking up with enough time to get ready, eat breakfast and be generally prepared for the day can be a shock to the individual and family system! But our arrival back at Plumfield was delightful, thanks to one young boy. When we pulled into the driveway, the rush of the familiar swept over the three of us: the sound of gravel under our tires, the swipe of branches along our side windows until we curved around and could see the entrance, the line of minivans with doors open and children piling out. In the midst of this return to normalcy, there was an eager young boy, waiting to greet us. His face was radiant when he saw us, and he began jumping up and down, chanting my children’s names. When I glanced back, they too were beaming with the joy of being reunited with an old friend. He pounced on them with hugs before they were out of the van, and its was a squeal-fest all the way inside. Later I was recounting this warm welcome to one of the teachers, and she smiled and said that the young boy declared during snack time that he wasn’t homesick at all, in fact over the break he was school-sick! We chuckled together about the enthusiasm of young children, and agreed that working in a place where kids are eager to be is a very rewarding experience. It’s yet another bit of the wonderful atmosphere that permeates Plumfield so completely.