Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kindergarten Tour

A few weeks ago, we received a postcard from the school at our church, inviting us as prospective Kindergartner parents to come tour the school and meet the principal.  I promptly entered it into my calendar and RSVP'd.  I knew M would be in Rhode Island, but I figured that since he went to school there himself, it'd be no big deal if he missed it.

Turns out that I wish he'd have gone this morning.  Then he'd have been able to hold up the sobbing mess his wife became after setting foot in one of the two Kindergarten rooms.

I did not expect this.  At all.  I was so excited about touring the school.  Even though we've been there countless times for fish fries and blood drives and pancake breakfasts and food donation drop-offs, I looked forward to seeing the classrooms, seeing children in their uniforms, meeting teachers and staff.  Looking at everything through the eyes of a parent, and not a hungry fish fry patron.  Our church, and its school, is wonderful.  I love the fact that we go to mass each week at the church where we were married.  I love that the priest who married us also baptized our child, and rides his bicycle past our house in the summer.  I love that M can identify so many people in the congregation as the parents of his grade school classmates, and that some of his grade school classmates have also come back to the parish to raise their own families.  Everyone is so friendly and welcoming and warm.  It's our own little Mayberry.

We've known since before Zoe was born that she would go to school there.  We decided together, long ago at our pre-cana Engaged Encounter retreat, that our child(ren?) would go to Catholic schools.  This was initially a point of contention, as I figure I'm a decent representative of just how great public schools can be.  My favorite line, when the private-versus-public school debate came up was, "What was your ACT score, again?"  'Cause I knew full-well that mine was higher.  Me, a little ol' public school girl.  (Let's not dwell on the fact that his score represents a more well-rounded academic background while I relied heavily on my perfect English and Reading scores to yank up the abysmal Math and Science scores.)  Anyway, we ultimately decided that the Catholic school experience was something we wanted, and it was a huge part of why we moved back to the parish in which M grew up.

So while the tour today was mainly designed to sway those parents sitting on the fence of determining where their preschoolers would go next year, for me, it was a sneak-peek into my daughter's future.

The full weight and force of that hit me the instant I walked into that Kindergarten room.  My little girl, my baby, isn't any more.  Babies do not learn Spanish.  Babies do not participate in service projects.  Babies do not have little lockers with their names on them.  Before I knew it, tears were in my eyes and, to keep myself from looking like a complete sap, I swiped them away and made a joke.  A few other parents laughed, but I could see some other moms getting emotional, too.  Oh, my.

The rest of the tour, I had to force myself to take deep breaths and beat back the tears.  Ridiculous.

I told M about it later.  He said, "She will do fine there."  I said, "It's not her I'm worried about."

Turns out that today wasn't just a sneak-peek into Zoe's future, but into mine and M's as well.  It looks pretty darn good, but man, it's bittersweet.


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