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I Chickened Out

All summer I've been waiting to see if my child got into the public school near us for VPK. It's the best in the district. i was #1 on the waiting list. I had gotten in line at 5 in the morning to get into the lottery.

I found out two weeks ago my daughter got in. My mom was so happy she bought all the school supplies my daughter needed - and it is a loooong list. A friend gave me the proper uniforms.

Then I blinked.

I enrolled her for another year of private school. At great expense. It's not money I have lying around.

Public school. I wasn't as ready as I thought I was. The forms and the attendance policy, the curriculum which my daughter already knows most of and the kids, and the government formality it all comes wrapped in. I wasn't ready to sign her into the system. There were no forms with smiley faces or lines for me to register my daughter's likes (being in charge) and dislikes (lightning).

I, myself, attended the public school my daughter was supposed to attend. I went back on the mini-tour and, unbelievably, the bathrooms smelled the same. They say smell triggers the strongest memories. My past and her future were not as easy to separate as I had imagined.

I thought about my child being in the youngest class of the school. She's already growing up so fast.

I thought about her being exposed to so many new things and new people. I thought about the new things she's already been picking up somewhere, like Lady Gaga and a dramatic "oh mom" eyeroll.

I thought about where I thought she'd be happiest. She said she wants to go to the public school, but I don't think she knows what it's all about. She wants to see herself as older. I see her in a large noisy lunchroom. I see her having to stay seated most of the day. I see her at the far end of the field smoking with the 6th graders.

One more year of very expensive arts and crafts won't kill her.