Thursday, October 13, 2016
Days of My Life
The following appears in the September edition of Chicago Parent.
A new school year.
A new set of worries.
A new set of developmental obstacles.
A new case for increasing my Xanax prescription.
Every year for the last seven, I have spent September second-guessing myself. First, there was the life-changing and soul-sucking Selective Enrollment route. The testing, waiting, deciding…it was overwhelming. Danny was fine (I bought him an ice cream cone after his exam), but I knew The Holy Grail would include a spot in one of the state’s preeminent grammar schools.
I think I locked in an ulcer during the process.
A while later, I picked up a nervous tick in choosing to send my two oldest to Catholic school. But you know. JESUS.
This year, I am leaving behind the wonderful Chicago Public School therapists and counselors who have doted on my youngest as though he was their own. They have worked with him to the point where his IEP probably wouldn’t even be re-issued if he was starting anew. He was never in better hands. Joey has been dropped off the spectrum and will now sally forth into the world with only a mild case of ADHD (or as I consider it, a mild touch of his mother’s DNA).
It will be the first time all three of my children will be attending the same school. I should be celebrating, but instead?
I’m totally verklempting.
I grew up in suburbia where there was never any doubt where kids would go for their education. Folks moved to a certain neighborhood FOR a school. There were no choices. My favorite Tab-drinking, chain-smoking moms had more time to worry about important things, like whether Marlena would finally escape the evil clutches of Stefano DiMaro.
No matter the era, geography, or pharmaceutical intervention, there will always be things to keep parents up late at night.
We worry about education. We worry about them finding friends. We worry about them finding the wrong kinds of friends. We worry about a world that is now foreign to us, steeped in social media and cyber bullying, where any slight misstep could be live-streamed on the local moms Facebook page.
My husband tells me to relax.
My mom tells me it will all be fine.
My ticks and insomnia refuse to listen.
The thing is, there is no way of knowing what decisions are more likely to result in a happy, well-rounded child. I do not have Miss Cleo’s psychic abilities. I am riding high on guts, instinct, and love.
One of my favorite times as a kid was actually watching a bit of “Days of Our Lives” with my mom. I loved the intrigue, the anguish, and the all-important cliff-hanger.
I never knew how it was going to end, but I never stopped hoping for the best.
It reminds me of parenting. Except I have not once sent a baby upstairs to nap and had him come back downstairs a gorgeous, grown-ass 20-year old man.
When I learn that trick, I will be sure to share.