Friday, August 27, 2010

The Invention Of Standing In Line

Every morning the students at Franklin Elementary are supposed to stand in line and wait until they are called to go into school. Line by line. Class by class. I am one of many parents who feel the need to watch over this process, making sure that my children are able to follow the "Stand In Line" protocol. What I have found is that when you're 5 "Standing In Line" can mean many different things.

For example, to "Stand In Line" may mean hopping vigorously up and down as fast as you possibly can. Standing in line my also mean whacking your brother ceremoniously about the head as many times as you can before you get caught. (There is a set of twin brothers in the girls class). And then again, standing in line may look curiously like skipping around your comrades, choosing to sample the view from any number of other lines before alighting back to your own.

For Ashlyn and Caedance, the definition of Line is blurry. This week I observed the fact that they will not stand front to back of each other. They will only stand side to side. School policies aside, (and I am a big supporter of walking nicely in a single file line), this has actually tugged at my heart strings a bit. At first I was annoyed, thinking "WHY can't they stand correctly? What is so hard about this?" I found myself walking up to them, pulling one behind the other and holding up a hand that clearly read, "Stay". I'd look on in absolute dismay as the other students stood in a beautiful straight line (after the aforementioned line-dissenters were corrected), and mine continued to stand in stony, resolute silence; side by side.

After dropping them off today, I got to thinking about the whole Side-By-Side thing and a light bulb lit up inside my head. PING! (That's the sound of a light bulb going on in my head, mind you). They weren't being deliberately disobedient. Nor were they ignoring directions. Rather, they were facing the situation in the way they know best; in the ONLY way the know, really. Together. Shoulder to shoulder, as one. Every single aspect of their lives thus far has been joined. They've done everything together both by choice and by circumstance. I've been amazed many times at their lack the word "I" and the constant repetition of "We". They are a unit. They think of themselves as such. And to those who may cry foul and decree that my children do not have a sense of self-identity and independence, may I kindly say you are quite wrong. They are quite independent of each other. I think, I truly do, that theirs is a twinship that is very delicately intertwined. It's not a co-dependency at all. I think they do genuinely feel connected to each other and it's that connection that allows them each to be independent and to go out and explore and try new things.

It's a process that works for them and has helped them blossom into the unique and slightly quirky little sprites that they are. I appreciate that greatly and have no desire to change it. However, there are rules in school, so we'll be working on the line up thing. But at least I have a better understanding now of why they're doing what they do. A bit of an insight into something I thought was simply misbehavior, but I now see was actually just yet another glimpse into a bond that I'll never truly understand.

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