Costa Rica has two basic seasons: rainy season and dry season. But, you sometimes hear of a third– windy season, which happens in the midst of the dry season.
The rains stop sometime during November or December, and the air suddenly feels like summer. Not having the lull of the afternoon rains is invigorating, which, combined with Christmas and the end of the local school year, gives a sense of celebration to everyday life.
Sometime around January the windy season starts, and it will continue until about March. This wind, like Costa Rican sun and rains, is intense: it howls through the trees, rumbles through the house. It shakes our bed (not a great feeling when you live in a place with earthquakes!). The wind is shockingly cold at times. And, because it happens in January, it brings with it a change— a mighty change. There is the change that accompanies all of us at the new year; we make resolutions, we try on new habits, we acknowledge what is working and what needs working on. The windy season amplifies that reality. It is a literal wind of change blowing into life just at the time when we crave it.
I am keenly aware of this year’s windy season, and the changes it carries with it are substantial. We are preparing for our move. And, equally as jarring is the change in our schedules.
Thomas’ ballet teacher, Patricia, decided at the end of last year that Thomas was ready for an increase in his class time. She proposed that he come to her (very intense!) morning classes in addition to his regular afternoon classes. That means he would spend his day at the ballet school; eating lunch there, and then spending his free time on his school studies. So, that is what we have been doing since the beginning of February. Travis takes Thomas to the ballet school in the mornings on his way to work, he does some studying, has his class, eats his lunch with some of the other (young adult-aged) students, practices some combinations from the morning class, more studying, then gets ready for his afternoon classes. Either I or Travis picks him up in the evenings after bringing Sadie to her classes. It is radically different!
Have you ever noticed when it is windy that you can see the tree tops move, suddenly, violently, and you brace yourself for what is about to come…then, even though you know it’s coming, when the wind gets to your little spot of earth you find yourself shocked, your breath taken away by the sharpness of it? That is how this windy season started. I fretted over my man-boy, wondering if he would be ok away from me, from all of us, all day. Would anyone be there with him? Would he feel alone? Was he capable of being really, truly independent in his studies? How would he manage his time?
Yes. Yes, he has people to talk to, students just a little older than him, as well as older women who come to morning pilates and ballet. Yes, he is ok away all day. We sometimes chat or text, but most of the time we have a catch-up session in bits during the week, and in longer stretches on the weekend. Yes, he does feel alone sometimes, he does miss us. And, you know what? That’s alright. We are all so happy to have our time together, that it is worth it. Yes, he is capable of handling his studies. He has been doing his own scheduling for about five years now, and his work has become, gradually, ever more independent. He writes narrations (like mini essays/ summaries) diligently. We still have the “grand conversations” that many of his readings bring up. I still give grammar lessons when he needs them, and Travis works through any tricky spots in his math with him. And yes, he is managing his time. Because his ballet studies take up so many hours each day, he parcels out what remains carefully, using his planner, his alarm clock, and we have been working through the hiccups together. I can hardly believe it, but what all my homeschooling-mom mentors said repeatedly is all coming true: put in the work while they are young, and they will be fine, you’ll see.
In spite of how well Thomas is coping with his new schedule, I still miss him. I miss our random conversations throughout the day. I miss him making plantains in the afternoons. I miss looking at him! His sisters miss him too, and when he is able to give them his time and attention they are excited and feel special.
Sometimes the wind whispers of the future. It reaches into a place in our minds with its cool fingertips, or with its warmth, like the brush of a loved one’s cheek. So much of this spell of time, with Thomas being gone all day and responsible for so many pieces of his life, hints at the changes yet to come. Whether I feel prepared for it or not, the day will come when it will be time for him to fly on a breeze— to college, to a job with a ballet company, to— well, to his own life. This windy is a wake-up call. It is time to see what’s coming, to prepare, but— just as importantly— it is also time to revel in the smell, the force, the beauty of where the wind is touching me right now.