We live in Wake County, North Carolina and the schools here are so screwed up I can't even articulate the mess. Actually, I take that back. The schools themselves are fine, in fact I love the school we've attended since moving here and have nothing but glowing remarks for the teachers and administration, but the administration at the school board level sucks. Case in point: My youngest three are on a year round calendar but my eldest, who is attending middle school this fall, is now on a traditional calendar. She'll be home for the next month while her sisters are in school... And in October, when the other three are out for almost a month? She'll be in school.
There are some pros and cons to the situation, and I am nothing if not a glass-half-full kinda person... but this? Even I can't make it good.
This morning as the (three) girls were getting ready for school I had this conversation with Rachel:
Rachel: <heavy sigh> I always felt like we were a team... The Belinski girls... Like we were in stuff together.
KathyB!: You are a team, sweetie. That's the best thing about having all those sisters. It's special, and you will always be there for each other. No matter what. <gives big hug>
Rachel: Except I'm not part of the team anymore. It's kinda like I got cut. I'm separate now.
KathyB!: Oh sweetie.... <more hugs>
Rachel: It's okay, mom. I know you have to tell me that it's a good thing. But I'm old enough now.... you don't have to pretend with me like when I was little...
KathyB!: <spinning internally on so many levels. And silent...>
I expected to feel impotent as my daughter entered middle school. I expected to feel powerless and weak in the face of mean girls and peer pressure and hormones.
I did not expect that the board of education would deem that my child not go to school with the children with whom she attended elementary school. I did not expect to spend the next month scrambling to make connections so that she'll at least recognize a few faces on the first day of school. I did not expect that the school board would put her on a schedule that would be hugely incompatible with the rest of the family, or that they would deny all of my appeals. I did not expect to feel so frustrated and powerless and impotent as my children, at least most of them, headed to school this morning.
I know this sort of vitriolic spouting isn't why most of you come here. And yes, I wrote the letters, I appealed the decisions twelve ways from Sunday, I quite literally pleaded with the powers that be and I exhausted all recourse. Make no mistake, this is a very complicated situation, and I understand that it's bigger than me.
And yet, for me it's quite simple. My job is to take care of my children and foster an environment that nurtures our family, and I take that job more seriously than I usually express.
And for the first time in my life...