This morning when Madeline pressed "0" on the elevator panel (it's the kind where a person has to select the floor they want to go to instead of pressing the arrows for up and down), instead of telling us to wait by elevators A, B, C, or D, the output screen showed the much-feared "XX". It meant that the system was down. Again.
We live on the fifteenth floor, so taking the stairs to the ground floor is a reasonable undertaking and preferable to missing the bus to school, so the three of us headed to the stairwell to begin our descent. Madeline's fast on the stairs, and as I watched her figure round the flights well ahead of me and her little sister, it occurred to me that she was also carrying a backpack full of twenty pounds of stuff with her.
The schools on the Dharma compound are running out of classroom space (just as the compound has run out of housing for families like mine), so fifth grade has been moved to the middle school and currently housed in an office building that was vacant and available. The students have to carry their backpacks everywhere with them. Madeline's has her lunch, water bottle, a large binder, a crazy amount of school supplies, and anywhere between 4 – 8 notebooks of various sizes.
A few weeks back, I asked her what she was looking forward to about sixth grade. Her response came fast: "A locker!"