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La Rentrée | Back to School

9.09.2013

Since August is a particularly slow month for French society, la rentrée in September becomes a significant event... it marks not only the beginning of classes but also the jump start of activities after a languid summer off for the government, businesses and the rest of the population.

For my younger son, September 3rd was more of an entrée (entrance) than rentrée into our local International French school, where a new environment, new rules and a new rhythm became his new normal.

To say the first week was hard on me is an understatement. By day three, Etienne's excitement had worn off, and the small space between us was a heavy mix of sadness and anxiety. Though his meltdown was not pretty to see and hear, the emotional toll was all mine to bear, and this maman's heart was reluctant in relearning the painful art of goodbyes...

The good news is I went through this with my first son... I know at some point it gets slightly easier.


28 comments

  1. Aw, poor little guy! Yes, it gets easier with time, but that doesn't lessen the challenge in early days! You captured the ups and downs so nicely in this sweet post, with those terrific images...

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    1. Thank you Lulu, sometimes I feel I'm just not made for goodbyes... week two is still a bit rough, but we're both hanging in there :)

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  2. Such a lovely and creative collection of shots. We were in France for 12 years - my kids did all of their maternelle and primaire in the twelfth. Just hearing 'la rentree' brought so many wonderful memories flooding back!! They adjust, and find their rhythm...I loved the maternelle years - I hope he settles in soon!

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    1. Oh how wonderful Adrienne! 12 years is a long time to be in France, I just read your blog bio and am fascinated! I'd love to know how you and your family adjusted to the culture and language. I hear maternelle in France is top notch... a few years ago, I visited the one my husband went to, and the grounds were superbe and everything was just so cute. I could go on and on... thank you so very much for visiting and sharing :)

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  3. Oh my heart is breaking...the both of you hurt...sigh. I have been through this twice with my daughters...so hard. Sending hugs♥♥

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    1. That means so much Laurie, thank you...

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  4. Awe, poop both of you. I hope it gets easier for him.

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    1. Ok, I meant "poor" not poop. darn auto correct! Sorry :(

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    2. Ha, that made me laugh through my tears! Thanks MA :)

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  5. So tough on the Mama's heart! I know it'll get better for both of you. Your images are so beautiful. I love how clean and simple they are. There is such a distinction and class to them. Love how they make me feel!

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    1. That brightens my day Kim, you're too kind, thank you mama :)

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  6. Beautiful photos telling the story of a new student - both the elation and the despair! Soon enough he will be waving goodbye with no tears, ready to forge ahead with his friendships and his learning. Good Luck from someone who has been there and now is there again with grandchildren!

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    1. Oh Barb, just today (wk 2/day 2), he hesitated to get dressed and return to "his school." When we arrived to his classroom, he calmly stood outside the door, so I took a deep breath and carried on like a soldier for battle, ... and in one divine moment, he walked inside, started playing and gave me one last hug before taking the teacher's hand (without looking back). I was so proud of him!... though my heart was breaking all over again. Thank you for the well wishes, best of luck to you and your grandchildren :)

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  7. Awh, lovely work. Just followed you on Pinterest and Instagram, too. I'm # 11 at P52 2013! Nice to meet you.

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    1. So very nice to meet you too Renae... following you back!

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  8. Such a necessary, but emotional part of growing up. Hope it gets better quicker.

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    1. Thank you so much Nancy! Slowly and surely it goes...

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  9. I love the color in these pictures, especially against the black and white. Speaks of new experiences and sad goodbyes!

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    1. I so appreciate your visit and kind words Brandi, thank you :)

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  10. Ah,its that time. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  11. It gets only slighter easier! Sent two out of three just back to university....even when they are that old "good byes" are not funny.But I love the collage you did with all the cheerful colors and I feel so sorry for the little one on the floor!

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    1. Oh Karen, I imagine that... the pang of goodbyes lingers far into our children's adulthood (sigh). Congratulations on sending off your two and thank you for stopping by :)

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  12. Awww, bless his heart. They do adjust more quickly than we do, don't they...
    I love the bright touches in the classroom - those days pass quickly.

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  13. Oh dear, it can be a challenging change for everyone

    Mollyxxx

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  14. Your pictures are captivating. I'm sorry that it has been such a tough time for you both and am hoping it gets better soon!

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  15. Quelle belles images, Catherine (comme d'habitude :) Mais pauvre Etienne et pauvre Maman!

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  16. Funny that you should mention this topic: the term "rentrée" is one that brings so much sadness in me since it mostly reminds me of brisk efficiency and separation, go figure! It is a BIG word here in France and the "rentrée" is a milestone in every student's and family's life of course.

    You may want to watch Les Maternelles, it airs on France 5 and you can catch up past programs via the Internet (Pluzz.fr). One of the latest shows was dedicated to the "rentrée" and the separation (mother and kids) - as usual, very interesting and a good starting point for your very own thoughts and analysis.

    I do hope the rentrée went smoothly for your son! Take care and enjoy every minute with your boys :-)

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