The last day of school finally arrived. July 5. It’s been a long year and now, officially, summer has begun.

We went out to dinner that night to celebrate and in the middle of dinner, Liam sagged against the back of his chair like a marionette whose strings had been cut. I thought maybe it was the heat – we were sitting outside in the balmy 98 degree evening – but he said no, it wasn’t that. “It’s just hit me that school is done,” he said. “And it feels really…weightful.”

Weightful. That’s just about right.  What they’ve done this year is big:  moved to a new country, started not one new school but two, navigated the British way of doing things (their new school follows the UK model), got great grades, made new friends, figured out how to be (mostly) happy.

I think sometimes that my kids don’t know how proud of them I am. I tell them so, all the time, but I wonder if they don’t hear those words; if they only hear pickupyourtoysdoyourchoresdon’thityourbrotherstopyelling.

It’s weirdly difficult to write an “I’m so proud of you” post – snarky is easy, and god knows complaining is easy too. But putting words to paper (digital paper, anyway) about the fact that I think my kids are rock stars…that feels odd. Odd, and yet important.

So let me take a minute and, as Fagin says in Oliver!, review the situation.

Why mention Fagin? Because Liam, along with the rest of Year Six, sang in the chorus of Oliver!, which I’ve decided may have more ear-worms per scene than any other musical: not only “I’m reviewing the situation,” but also “Food, glorious food…”  and “Consider yourself at home…”  The show came and went about a month ago, but still, at least once a day, someone in our house sings one of these songs–and once they’ve been said out loud, they’re in your brain forever.

Caleb trod the boards this year as well, as a gangster in the Year Three production of “The Bumblesnouts Save the Earth,” (surely you’ve heard of it), in which he was supposed to sport a New York accent…and he couldn’t do it. What came out was something that sounded more like Peter Brady saying “pork chops and applesauce,” and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here.

Okay, so he’s not going to be the Alec Guinness of accents, but he has become a reader, a devourer of books.

Last year, at the start of first grade, reading was still something Caleb did grudgingly but something clicked along the way and now he burns through books at an alarming rate. I’m not sure he’s getting every word, but I don’t think that matters at the moment. What matters to me is that he’s figured out how to lose himself in imaginary worlds. He’s decided, actually, that he wants to be a writer, because, as he says “you can be in your socks and be writing and you don’t have to work all the time. It’s not like being a football coach.” True ‘dat.

These boys, they’ve leaped off boats into the Strait of Hormuz;

dressed up like hobbits and centurions for Book Character Day at school:

no, I don’t know why Liam looks so pained; I think he’s aiming for a Frodo-possessed-by-the-ring expression

They’ve played soccer, soccer, soccer, and Caleb has dabbled in rugby and cricket; they’re each learning an instrument; and between them they’ve lost 2 blue blazers, 3 school baseball caps, 2 pairs of swim goggles, 2 gym bags, 1 bathing suit, several school ties, a book bag, any number of locks, a library book, four or five water bottles. The blazers surfaced eventually, as did the caps, but the other stuff? Gone, baby, gone.

When we told them we were staying for another year, we braced ourselves for explosions, but there weren’t any; they’ve created lives for themselves here and although they’re excited about visiting New York this summer, they’re also looking forward to the next school year.

I’m tempted to end this post with some snarky aside but I’m going to resist snarky’s allure and say only, I’m proud of you, my boychicks.

  okay, one small snarky thing: yes, Caleb in his school uniform does remind us of Angus Young