Thursday, June 4, 2009

Smiling Happy People

Nothing will ever really be good enough, I know that. The bar is ridiculously high, no matter how many times I effort to make myself the cool mom who refuses to get caught up in the school madness, that crazy mom over there is me. And it's not so much about the academia, I do have that perspective in view, it's the way the school makes me feel, and the realization that I'm just not ready to hand them over.

Today completed our school tour week, which sadly only consisted of only two schools, neither of which could guarantee the space. The girls and I made the first visit on Tuesday to a school that had a wide open door policy with no friendly security guard welcoming us as we entered. Fail. Today was option #2, the one with the most promise, and happily, a locked door. Jack joined us, his first school visit, and he did very well, allowing me to inspect the cleanliness and overall smell of the restrooms, question the school lunch ladies (with minimal eye rolling), and study the student created murals on the front entry walls. And the thing is, I really liked this school.

Not in our neighborhood and not at all diverse, it's not ideal; the cheese stands alone here, albeit alone with their sister, as they will be a minority in their very first school experience. But bright and sunny, friendly people and a whole list of things that were important to me: fully integrated Spanish program, music and art classes, healthy options lunch program (vegetarian sandwich available today), after school cooking class, accelerated learning option, secure building, no meth clinic next door, no homeless meth addicts passed out on the playground en route to neighboring meth clinic, happy children, small classes, engaged teachers and involved parents.

We're lucky, our last option turned out to be worthy of consideration, and not just the one we were stuck with at the end of the long and turbulent school quest. But what if it wasn't? What if I could spin this around so that I could have just one more year with them all to myself? It's only kindergarten, as Jack reminds me frequently, but it becomes now a world where Mary and Kate exist beyond our borders. The reality is I'll never really be ready to let them go, but at least now I know they will be going to a safe and happy place, a fine place to extend their boundaries.

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