First day of school photos!

Monday M began her last year of primary school – Groep 8 which is essential grade 6 in the US. And Tuesday, S started what they call Middelbare school which is grade 7 in the US. But here it’s one school for the next 6 years. Technically he is supposed to be in grade 8, but we kept him back a year when we first came from Ireland to The Netherlands. This was to give him more time to learn the Dutch language as the level of middelbare school you attend is largely based on school exams and the fact the groep at the primary school was full – and this combination worked out perfectly! Thinking about it, he was kept back two times. When we left the UK, he had to repeat first class in Ireland, as they start earlier in the UK so his British peers are two years ahead of him in school already.

Anyway, this is a big year for both of them. They’ll both grow tremendously this year intellectually, independently and physically. My seatbelt is buckled as the “pre & puberty years” have arrived :). This post won’t be super long but will add a few things to always remember as you both enter these important and confusing years.

It is OKAY to be Different!

You don’t have to be the same as everyone else in order to be important.  It’s okay to be different. In fact, it is good to be different.  Stand up for what you believe, even if at times you have to stand alone.  Don’t give into the pressure to do things that you are not okay with. So if M wants to have some purple in her hair – go for it. If S wants to wear his DRI t-shirt some days, that is fine. But the grandpa sneakers, I still need to think about 🙂

Friends Come & Go – That is Normal!


People change.  I promise you will find lasting friendships in the most unexpected ways and with the most unexpected people. Your best friends from primary school may be there in your life forever or they may not. You will find your crew. Be yourself! Your true friends will like YOU for who YOU are. You will be more confident when you are living an authentic life rather than if you are trying to change to impress people who will not matter in the long run.

Good Grades are Important but Not Everything

Never base your worth on your grades.  Good grades don’t make someone a better person, bad grades don’t make them a bad person.  But you must ALWAYS try your best and work hard! Never quit!

Always Feel Free To Talk to Us

Me and Papa might be the last people you want to talk to when you are going through difficult things at school, but we are ALWAYS here for you. And if you don’t want to talk to us, please talk to a family member that you trust.  We will always have your back. And yes, this includes talking to us about girls or sex or random things.  I know you might not want to but you are both entering some of the most confusing years of your life. Even though it’s hard to believe, we have been there before.

Seems like it was only yesterday, back in 2012, when S was starting his first day of Reception in the UK complete with his tiny flat book bag, school uniform and cool sunglasses.

And a year later Maebh started Nursery School – which she LOVED!

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