There were no first day of school pictures for us this year. We haven’t done any back to school shopping. I haven’t felt the anticipation of a fresh start and a new year like I usually do when summer winds down and fall creeps in.
Manchild is five. He could/should be in school. He’s been excited about going to school for years. I’ve been excited about him going to school for almost as long. And yet, he’s not in school.
He’s not in school because we don’t have a school for him to go to. At least not one we feel comfortable sending him to. Better to keep him at home than to send him to a place where we worry about him and his environment.
The past nine months have been full of excitement and anticipation as we’ve explored the possibilities and imagined how Manchild could benefit from them. But that anticipation has been tempered by knowing that so much of the process is out of our hands. We did all we could do. We made the best decisions we knew how to make. And we patiently waited for the stars to align and the paths to open up before us.
School started nearly a week ago and we’re still waiting. And wondering. And trying to figure out what we should or could be doing.
It’s been a little rough at times. When Manchild is cranky I imagine that this could have been avoided if he was in school. When I feel like I’m sinking instead of swimming through these days of having three kids at home, I imagine it would be so much easier if Manchild was in school. When I see families coming home from pick-up, I imagine how much fun it will be to see the boy after he’s been away at school all day.
A couple of things have made it bearable: knowing that this is but a small moment, and that when things fall into place, it won’t matter how long it took or how difficult the road was. It’s like when your baby is late. You think you’ll be pregnant forever. You don’t count in days overdue, you count in minutes, maybe even seconds. You’ve practically given up hope that you’ll ever see this little thing that is kicking around inside you . . . and then the moment the baby is out, it doesn’t matter one smidge that he kept you waiting. I’m looking forward to when this small moment has passed.
The other thing is that everyone we’ve talked to has been supportive and helpful. There are times when you are concerned for your child and you end up feeling silly or stupid when you take your concerns to others – like when the doctor wonders why you have wasted his time by having him examine your perfectly healthy child. But with this school thing, everyone we’ve met with has listened to our concerns and has not laughed in our faces for being so picky, or so naive, or so hard-headed, or whatever it is we are. They’ve taken us seriously, they’ve given us options, they’ve been as concerned as we are.
I appreciate that. I appreciate knowing that school is a big deal. It’s no easy task to send your child away for seven hours a day. You want to be sure it’s a good fit. Unfortunately, it’s been really hard for us to find any sort of fit at all.
I’m still hoping we can find one. And when we do, I’ll be sure to post those first day of school pictures.