We’re taking it.
For so many reasons.
But it wasn’t a decision that was made lightly. Both Bill’s and my initial reaction was AW, HELL NO. We’re not going back in time. We agonized over the decision over whether to send Rowan to Kindergarten last year and then we agonized again the first five months when things were so rough on whether to pull her out or keep her in. When we made the decision to keep her there, we tried to make the best peace we could with her situation and MOVE FORWARD. Not backward.
When we found out we were number 55 on the waiting list for the charter school last January, we called and asked what our chances were of getting in for next fall- how far up the waiting list did they typically go in any given year. When they told us they almost never made it through the 30’s, we gave up hope. We put that school and the possibility of Rowan re-doing Kindergarten out of our head. Onward. Upward.
And she ended the year well. She really did. I know, academically she’s a strong First Grader. But. That’s only one piece of the puzzle, right? The thing about last year is that everything was so damn hard for her. She was the smallest kid in her class by a mile. She looked out of place. I didn’t feel like she really fit. And despite our reassurances, sometimes I think she felt it, too.
Truth is, last year I grossly sugar coated how I really felt about her school and specifically her teacher because I felt I had to make the best out of a shitty situation and I’m a grown-up and grown-ups don’t bash their child’s teacher/school on the Internet. But, Internet? SHE WAS AWFUL. It was awful. At morning drop-off my stomach would be in knots as I tried to quietly reassure Rowan that she’d have a good day while at the same time trying to coax her to not piss off her teacher. Then on the ride to pick her up I would be absolutely sick to my stomach worrying over what kind of report I’d get from Rowan or her teacher. I kept blaming myself or my kid, but as time wore on I could see the teacher was just not handling the class as a whole, the individual students or the freaking parents in a caring, professional or respectful manner. And despite attempts to work with the administration, they completely dismissed me and other parents’ attempts at a dialogue on how this class was being run. Before school started the district evangelized the importance of the parent/school communication connection but once the year started they slammed that door tight. I was more than a little appalled. But again- I thought, What am *I* doing wrong? What could *I* do to help them communicate better with me. But the plain truth was than there was nothing I could do and I learned that the hard way.
When the possibility of the charter school crept back in three days ago, I just kept thinking: Wow. We’d have to do that year over?! And then the more we calmly discussed the absurdity of such a thing, we both started saying: Wow. We’d get to do that year over?!
Really neither is true. If Lost taught me anything, it’s that What Happened, Happened. You can’t change the past. But you can learn from it. And we get the chance to maybe make the decision we should have made a year ago, which was to give our daughter another year of childhood. To let her grow into her own skin.
I asked Rowan how she would feel about going to a different school…
“But my friends will miss me!”
“Yes. And you’ll miss them.”
“Can I still see Ruby?”
“Of course, but you won’t see her everyday in school.”
And then I told her if she goes to this school she’d have to start back in Kindergarten. Her first reaction was similar to ours:
“But I already know all that stuff!”
“Yep. Good point, you do.”
She paused for a few seconds and said: “Mom? I DID learn all that stuff, but Kindergarten was really hard some of the times. Maybe if I tried it again everything wouldn’t be so hard all of the time.”
And after my heart finished thoroughly breaking, I said: “Did you feel like it was too hard last year?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just felt really tiny there. I didn’t like feeling that way.”
“OK, what do you think then?”
“I think I want to try the new school, but if I don’t like it, can go back to my old school?”
“We’ll figure it out if it comes to that, deal?”
When I broached the subject with her I thought for sure she would fight tooth and nail against not only switching schools but repeating Kindergarten and that would be the deciding factor. When even Rowan seemed to think it was a smart move, Bill and I really started to entertain the idea and from there it became clearer and clearer what we needed to do. And once we realized how we felt? A huge feeling of relief and just, I don’t know, RIGHTNESS, washed over me. I felt good about my daughter’s education for the first time in…well, EVER.
And who knows! Maybe this will turn out horribly! If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that THOU SHALT NOT GET COCKY ABOUT ANYTHING, NO SIR, NOT ONE DAMN THING.
But for now? The rightness feels really, really good.
The following day we called and accepted the spot and since then we’ve been filling out forms and making phone calls to the district and her old school and also? We got to do a little shopping.