Thinking Thursday: On Accepting Change

Moving_Boxes (3)
Image by carlaarena via Flickr

My family and I moved from one state to another in November, right after Thanksgiving. It was a big decision for us, but we wanted to be closer to family, and the neighborhood we were moving to was idyllic—tree-lined streets, friendly neighborhoods teeming with kids, and the kind of charm made famous in the play “Our Town.”

There was only one true downside to the move, and that was that I would have to pull my son out of an excellent pre-school program. (I know, I know, we aren’t talking about an Ivy League school here).

My mom was a teacher, and she ran a daycare for a few years, and I myself have a theatre background, which combined have given me real appreciation for education, teachers and creative play. This pre-school program was top-notch in my mind, and from day one I was nearly awe-stricken with how much one-on-one attention my son was receiving.

Fast forward to January, when I enrolled my son into the pre-school program in my new town. It was destined to disappoint me from the start, given the fact that we had just left the ultra-fabulous, pie-in-the-sky, could-do-no-wrong program. See where this is going? I had built the previous town’s program up to be the absolute gold standard in my mind, and everything else would pale in comparison.

From the start I was unhappy with the program. I didn’t like that there was a line of cars to drop off and pick up the kids every morning, where at the previous school we could park and walk our kids up to their own special door where they were lovingly handed over to their teachers.

I felt that the new teachers were a little cold, and my attempts at small talk over my shoulder while they gathered my son were responded with a few cursory small words (looking back I realize that they were pressured to keep the line of cars moving, and didn’t have time to chat).  I was looking for reasons to be unhappy with this school. And I was finding them, for sure.

I called and e-mailed my son’s new teacher a few times as I had not met her during his screening (she had been out with a broken bone) and had spoken with the assistant instead. I told myself that these calls were to check in on my boy’s progress, how he was fitting in—but looking back I realize now that I was looking for something to nit-pick about. I just couldn’t let the old school idea go.

There were other things that fed my neurosis about the school and whether I should pull my son out of it—some yucky stuff that I won’t write about here, but needless to say it was a great example of the fact that I should have listened to myself and met with the boy’s teacher face-to-face instead of waiting until March for the parent-teacher conference, which stupidly is what I did.

All the while that I was fretting—I wasn’t thinking about the most important thing—was my son happy?

Was he building strong relationships with his teacher and his friends? Did he look forward to going to school? And the answer to all of those things was “yes.” Once I sat across the table from his teacher and she glowed while sharing with me wonderful gems about my son—how she feared it would be a difficult transition for him but that he soared into the change effortlessly; how he is polite and kind and helpful; how he is observant of the class rules; how he is gentle with his classmates; how he is inquisitive and silly and a little forgetful; how just talking about him made her smile from ear to ear—all of my fears were put to rest.

I let the ghost of the old school cloud the potential of the new one. And for that, I failed. I failed my son, his teachers, and myself. And that realization just about takes the wind out of my sails. But once I got out of my own way, my lessons were learned—be open to new changes, welcome them with all of your heart—remember to be a guide and not a helicopter Mom, listen to your intuition, and please, PLEASE give some credit to those wonderful professionals who have devoted their careers to providing a loving environment in which our little ones get their first footholds into the world of education.

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Article by ShadyTree

Allison just returned from NYC where she received the Mom of the Year Award for her tireless devotion to all things motherhood. And then she woke up, realized her son was late for pre-school, her daughter hadn't had a bath in 3 days and her own eyebrows looked like they belonged on Chewbacca from Star Wars. On a day-to-day basis she juggles all the tough stuff that most Moms do, but tries to remember that at the end of the day it isn't about how perfect her life appears to be to everyone else, it's about how perfect it is for HER that counts. ShadyTree tagged this post with: , , Read 6 articles by

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  1. fairytalemom says:

    Well said. I sometimes worry that my chaotic, disorganized, over scheduled life brings my daughter unncessary stress. But, what I’ve learned is that she adapts well to whatever pace we are keeping at the time. The most important thing at the end of the day is that we did it together and we learned something along the way.

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