I Got Schooled

by Nola

CS and I, with Sun in tow, returned for the third time (do recall that Sun is 3-1/2 years old) for the Open House of the school Sun is likely to attend this Fall.  We had previously decided this school was “it”; it had the right feel; lots of sunshine and awards of excellence; it is on the way to both my office and CS’s shop; it will likely have some of the kids Sun is currently in school with also attend.

Driving over, I started to get that sick pit-in-the-stomach feeling over whether this was really, REALLY, REALLY the best school we can offer Sun.  It isn’t the most expensive; the most exclusive; or other such things to make it the MOST BEST.

We’ve been talking to Sun about how this will be her new school soon.  We’ve done this in an attempt to ease the transition this will be.  We’ve taken her to events here to let her see the school often so that it won’t be new and unknown when the time comes to switch.

All that doubt I had about this not being the perfect school bubbled up as we sat in the gym with terrible acoustics listening to the school’s band play off tune.  So when Sun announced she needed to potty, I was happy to escape all that evaporating air.

As we walked down the hallway of the pre-4 and kindergarten classes, with the oh-so-familiar art of snowflakes made out of palm impressions and snowmen made of cotton balls, Sun asked, “Mom, is this my new school?”  “It will be,” I responded.  Sun looked back at that hallway, pleased, and asked, “Where are all my new friends?”

Her question stopped me in my tracks.  I got down on my knees, looked Sun into her most trusting, open-minded eyes, and hugged her.  “They’ll be here when you start, honey,” I managed to squeak out as I held back tears.

Because, like parents, schools are not perfect.  The idea of a perfect school is a myth that serves only to foil parents’ efforts by making them feel they aren’t doing the best they can for their children unless they find the scholastic atmosphere of top academics, racial composition, character-building, friend-making, much-homework-but-not-too-much, feed-to-a-perfect-high-school-and-in-turn-college.

School is but one component that will contribute to my child being an amazing, successful, well adjusted adult.  And all of the few schools we’d whittled it down to will serve her well.  And if this school turns out not to be a perfect fit, we have the freedom to move her later.

I don’t recall ever having the confidence, lack of fear of the unknown that Sun has about starting this new school.  She sees this new experience as one filled with new friends and joy.  And if Sun gets some of those other elements that my husband and I found so important in selecting this school, well, then our homework will have paid off.

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