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Peek into Freedom

Regaining serenity through the public school system, one child at a time.

The letter was addressed to The Parents or Guardians of Alice Rogers. One look at the return label and my heart skipped a beat—our first piece of correspondence with the local elementary school. 

The kids were nagging me for something—help with shoes on or coats off or snacks opened—but given the seriousness of the situation, I accessed my mommy superpowers of instant inaudibility, and the world around me went quiet. I tore into that envelope with the intense focus of a bear opening up his prey.  

First came the pain, which I ignored. But as I began to read the first few lines, I was forced to acknowledge the spurting blood. The source was a nasty paper cut across the front of my thumb. I sucked on it as fast as I could but the form to declare our intention to enroll Alice was already streaked with my own gore. It looked like I was going to have to phone this information in...

I'm pretty excited for Alice to go to Kindergarten.

She missed the cutoff to go last year by six days—not that I have counted, or talked about that at all, to anyone who would listen, lo these past six months. And lest you think I'm heartless for wanting to return for full credit this "gift of a year" let me assure you that Alice feels the same way. Each time we drive by the school we call out in a desperate unison: "There it is!"

It's simple really. When it comes to the hours of the day when she is not in preschool we both know the truth: We have nothing left to give.

And so with the arrival of that letter we had our first bit of evidence in black and white that this precious time in early childhood would indeed come to an end. It stated that registration would kick off with A Peek into Kindergarten: a short orientation for incoming parents that took place this past week.  

It did occur to me that they may have dealt with my type before, what with that title: It's just a peek, people. A glimpse. A little teaser. So calm the hell down, okay. You're going to have to enter through the bac kdoor and don't even try to go off course. Have you checked a calendar lately, it's March for Chris-sakes.

As I walked into the adorable Little Theater last Thursday evening, I practically had to meditate to keep my overeagerness at bay.

The principal opened with some common concerns that many parents have at this time, and I responded—silently, secretly, but honestly—to each: 

"You may wonder if your child is ready for Kindergarten..."

Nope.

"You may worry that she may not separate..."

Where's the drop off?

"Be assured you can wait as long as it takes for those first few days..."

I'm sorry, did you mention the earliest possible time we can drop off?

"It may seem like a long day..."

How do we sign up for after school activities? Can they happen every day?

"You may wonder, does she know all she needs to know?..."

I'm confident she'll pick it up. It's cool. We'll hire a tutor if we have to.

"It takes all of us, it's a joint effort."

Yep, totally. I've done my part for five years, maybe we should check in with each other in, say, another five?

It helped of course that the presentation was excellent and the principal and staff were so professional and genuinely caring that I left feeling lucky, once again, to be a part of this amazing community. She finished up with a reading of a poem about the ways in which teachers and parents work together to raise a child. And then she reminded us that it all goes by in the blink of an eye.

I started to tear up. It's true, it really does go by in a blink. It's just that this particular blink can sometimes feel like it's up against a large, yet lovely, eyelash that really just needs to get out.

Only 182 days to go.

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