Moving to a new country brought many changes. MANY changes.

But the stage we are in life would have brought so much changes anyway. Jack will be attending Florida State by the end of this month. Neil started high school. Young adults we love as our own are heading to other universities, new jobs, many different paths. These kids we watched grow up are so grown up! Wasn’t kindergarten just a moment ago? Weren’t they all Cub Scouts and Brownies just last month?

I think of kids in Jack’s kindergarten class and the plans they are making, the dreams they are pursuing. Amazing.

We are watching Neil’s classmates make plans and choices for high school – cheer, dance or theater, basketball or football, band, honors classes or/and vocational classes. Neil’s new school has a college fair in a few weeks. Neil’s planning on making a permanent friend of the University of Oregon representative. Neil has to wear a uniform to school, but he has figured out he can sport his Ducks socks that day.

In my Facebook feed, this memory photo showed up. It’s Neil, Graeme and Jack the day before school started last year. We didn’t even know Panama was on the horizon. Julie was teaching so I took the boys. They really didn’t need me. Two of them were drivers already! But it was tradition so I made them pile into my car and we headed to the bowling alley.

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Turns out this photo marks the end of a back-to-school tradition. Each year Julie and I would take the kids bowling before school started. We had quite a crew when the tradition started. Jack might have been in 2nd grade, Neil in preschool. Graeme in 1st grade. We also had Morgan, Gavin, Quinn, and maybe an additional friend or two. Morgan and Gavin went off to college; Quinn is in Colorado.

Graeme started his senior year today. We are in Panama.

And a favorite tradition has become a treasured memory.

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