Another day, another preschool tour…
We’re wearing ourselves out with stress over this preschool business. We promised ourselves this wouldn’t happen. We were going to opt out of the insanity. Oh how very silly we were. The sad truth about NYC public schools is that preschool is not a guarantee. There aren’t enough spaces so even if you can hold out that long…you may not get a spot. So you begin to look at all the options – the privates, the religious schools, the “alternative” programs and you realize this will cost you several thousands of dollars. No matter what, a hefty bill is coming your way.
For each of these schools there is a ridiculous application process involving tours and interviews and “play dates”.
Another morning, another preschool tour. Need tuition assistance just for all the freaking application fees & babysitter hours…
— Jenny Gill (@nycjenny) November 5, 2013
Truer things have never been tweeted… Oh if only I were joking.
Amidst the madness this morning a small moment of clarity emerged. In a school stairwell, written out on a painted chalkboard wall were these words from the poet Mary Oliver:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Maybe it’s only preschool we’re looking at, but there’s a reason it matters. There’s a reason we’re all stressing and trying to outdo each other with our best. This is their one wild and precious life, isn’t it? There is infinite possibility and it’s time to take yet another first step. If this madness and absolute ridiculousness is what the process is then so be it. I will do my best to remain calm, meet the deadlines and find a place for Jack to take his first steps along his way. Our wild and willful child who asks me almost daily if he can please go to school now.
Alright, sweet child, we will go to school. Soon. In the meantime I may embroider that Mary Oliver quote on a cushion.
Our one wild and precious life indeed.