While I should be addressing my prolonged absence from this blog, I will instead ignore my laziness and talk about how our kids went into the sixth grade. With all the flurry of emotions we have had to deal with in the previous days, it wasn`t a surprise we all woke up today a bit nervous. Completely normal, one would say, to be a bit jittery on the first day of school, if it wasn`t me who had to hide all the nervousness. That doesn´t mean my daughter didn´t run around like a madman, trying to stuff all the books into her new backpack, or that my son didn´t quietly deal with his own uneasiness. My wife and I decided to escort them on their way, only on the first day, because we are aware that kids their age do not wish their parents anywhere near them when other friends arrive. The first thing I noticed was that there were very few of their schoolfriends with an escort, while none had both of their parents trailing them like our kids did. I could argue that we are a unique family, but maybe, just maybe, my wife and I are not yet willing to admit to ourselves that we just do not want to relinquish our kids just yet. Too soon, but reality is never pleasant. Therefore, we said our quick goodbyes, none of our kids ran up to us to give us a farewell kiss like they used to (used is a word I use very broadly here – they haven´t been doing this for a while now, it is just this morning I needed a farewell kiss). In fact, they looked relieved to see us go – and I must say that makes me proud. Which is a feeling I am getting more and more often when it concerns our kids.
On my way back home from our unnecessary escort duty, I passed a multitude of other parents escorting their (arguably) much younger kids. When I walked pass a pair of moms, one of their kids ran from her to meet his schoolfriends and his mom wanted to hold him back. When she failed, she started yelling after him in Bosnian (footnote: the region of Ljubljana where we live in has a high proportion of people living here that stem from the southern former Yugoslavian republics), giving instructions about all the dangers of the school surroundings he has to be careful of. Due to the fact that our school is situated far away from public roads, or roads of any kind, the instructions seemed exaggerated even to myself and I like to overdue with my urge for handing out safety tips. The other mom that was standing next to her started laughing and her response was epic. “Ma daj, ne ide u vojsku” is such a complicated response but hits the point perfectly. It means, “Do not fuss, it is not like he is going to serve in the army.” This response reflects a lot of historical specifics of our country and the former Yugoslavian republics in general. The obligatory military service was a big part of our lives almost until I reached 20 – also it was one the things I never wanted for me or my kids. Just listening to my father retell his experience (which he always made it seem as the most exciting and adventurous time of his life – but between the lines of his narration you could sense that it was not all bravado and excitement) I realized that serving as he did was not something that was attuned to my character. After the separation of Yugoslavia, my brother served in one of the last generations of the obligatory services. Serving in Slovenia and being able to come home every weekend or so, it was not such a strain on a person. So, if it came to it, it would have been a valuable experience. But I am diverting from the topic. The gist of it is that you were separated from everything you know for a year or more and it represented the transition from children to men. And that was the meaning of the joke – it meant that she didn´t have to worry, he is safe, and school is in general a secure and interesting, pleasant place. This means the parents are at ease to go to work and do grown up stuff.
She was right, going back to school is a good thing – especially compering it to the previous year when we spent most of the year schooling from home. While at first it did not seem as a problem, it in fact was. Our kids specifically are very inclined to stay at home, reading books, watching cartoons and playing games instead of going to the playground or doing sports. At the end it was almost impossible to take care of the work duties and to motivate them for afternoon activities.
This was not so during the summer, which is alas coming to an end. This summer was one of the more active and interesting. I thing our kids spent almost a month and a half in Croatia, Three weeks of this time at the seaside. When I was a kid, I wouldn` t think this kind of holiday plausible, so I was that more lucky and grateful that I had grandparents in Prekmurje where I spent some of the best summers in my life (come to think of it while I write this, I have very very few pictures of that time and my memories are starting to fade into the background more and more while we make so many fresh memories as a family.).
We started the summer the best was possible – with a birthday celebration. My wife´s father turned 70. Despite his high age Ivan is still a very strong and active grandfather – it is a shame that our kids don´t like to go fishing with him anymore.
The međimurje region is a sleepy place that never seems to change a lot. However, there always seems to be so many beautiful things in different seasons. The beginning of summer is characterized by growing and young things.
After the birthday celebrations we spent the first two weeks of summer on Hvar – our usual place, where we are eager to return to each year. This year we took with us our kids´s cousins, so that they would have company in otherwise a fairly secluded place. While it was difficult at many times to handle so many kids in a place where many dangers lurk (even the steps to the sea proved to be more dangerous at times than you would wish) – aaaand here I go finding dangers everywhere. In the end we had a full and interesting time, despite some of the less pleasant moments (mostly in connection with the kids smirking over our cooking).
During the mid-summer days we were appart for a lot of the time. The kids were in Međimurje with their grandparents and we were alone in Ljubljana – work stuff, you know. Not the fun stuff. But we tried to make several projects and trips to make the most of our time alone. First the chairs – yep, who would have thought that making chair would be as meditative and mind-settling as this. Or maybe it is just the feeling of doing something with your hands instead of sitting behind a computer and putting words on a screen.
Then there was the trip to Rimske toplice (Roman Spa) where we had our couples´ break with one of the more interesting dinners of my life in the renowned restaurant Pr´Repovž (we used some of our gift-coupons but they treated us with an amazing array of courses). If you are expecting any photos of me in a sauna, you will be very disappointed.
The last week of summer we again went to the same place, but this time, some of our friends with their kids were staying in the neighboring bay. Regardless of my expectations, that was a very fun week. So full in fact, I am still recovering. In a good way. Between two seas vacations there were many others too – too many to describe in this blog post. Therefore, I will just recollect them with a photo or two…three, maybe more. The photos I took were mostly of friends so I have a very poor selection I can post on a public blog, but let me assure you, we had a grand time. 🙂
Today, as we begun our summer, we end it. With a birthday. My mother turns 65 today. While the celebrations will have to wait until the weekend, I am feeling very thankful that both our parents are still alive and healthy enough to be part of our family.
As this page comes to a close, I will get myself ready to go donate my blood for the first time in three years. Do not know why I waited so long, but I think there has been enough excuses. This is the least one can do to help someone. And in truth, I am only donating my blood, it is not like “da idem u vojsku!”
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