You are now one of 60 children from 37 New York City schools, from 28 zip codes, who speak over 10 different languages, that will be new students this fall at Manhattan Country School. Your orange t-shirt, with the words "Peace, Family, Sustainability, Community and Love" written on it, couldn't sum it up any better. Recently returning from our first MCS Farm Outing Day, our hearts couldn't be more excited about this next phase in your life.
I'd never even heard about MCS until my friend Fredi mentioned it to me when I was just beginning to look at schools. She couldn't say enough positive things about it, so I decided to go on a tour just for the helluvit, not thinking I'd ever consider it because of the commute. But when I learned the school would be moving to the Upper West Side the following year, well, the game totally changed. I called Dad at work (which I NEVER do) to tell him there was something special about this school. And I felt it the second I walked in the building.
Right away I noticed that classroom after classroom is full of children who look like you. Inspired by the educational dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr., MCS has become a role model of cultural diversity for other independent schools. The vibrant mix is unlike any school I have ever experienced. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I learned about the working farm upstate in the Catskills. Are you kidding me?! Is this place for real?
When that acceptance email from MCS arrived last winter, I literally danced in the streets. Dancing for joy because of where you were heading, dancing for happiness because of the new families we would come to know and dancing for God with a grateful heart over how this all unfolded. God is love and as cliché as it sounds, Dad and I both agreed that for us, the school feels like heaven on earth. Its community, made up of of dozens of mixed families like ours, is absent any hint of racism. It is alive with "Peace, Family, Sustainability, Community and Love" - just like your t-shirt says!
As soon as we arrived at the farm, we saw the colorful "quilt" with the names of the new students arriving this fall. Finding yours brought a smile to your face, especially since you were "a bit shy" when we arrived. You didn't even want to get out of the car. For several months, you've been asking questions about Kindergarten and the making of new friends so I know the transition is heavy on your mind. This is your first rodeo with this type of change, so I have tried my best to help you process your feelings about it. As you spent time walking along the creek, feeding farm animals, hay jumping, dancing to the live band and making new friends chasing bubbles - as predicted, you didn't want to leave when the time came.
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You weren't the only one having a good time. Our whole family enjoyed the food, drink, games, and live music beneath a blue sky with cotton candy clouds. Perfection.
We recently connected with another couple who live in Harlem with their two boys, the same ages as you and Grey, and already have a few plans with them in place for later this summer. Their oldest son will be in the same class as you so right there you have made a new friend.
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"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and enjoy the dance." ~ Alan Watts
My love, when it comes to your life journey, you will go through a multitude of transitions; new schools, new homes, new friends and losses of all those as well. Your heart will break a little each time and in different ways. But with God by your side, and the fact that each of those events will make you stronger, you'll come to learn it's a part of life. The most amazing result, if you let it, will be the making new friends. That never changes as you grow older. Even Dad and I are thrilled to have made new friends at MCS and think how old we are!
Remain open to the possibility of friendship and love, embrace the sameness and difference between you and others and always remember how it feels to be the newcomer. You'll be able to reach out with kindness when you see someone who may be feeling a bit shy. It will be one of the most wonderful gifts you give the world.
Who knows, maybe these new friendships you will make at Manhattan Country School will be for a lifetime.
This, my love, is just the beginning.
Always & forever,