Monday, March 28, 2005

The Envelope, Please (Plus a little more of Question 2)

Parents of 4 and 5 year olds around here were burning up the phone lines this weekend. School-assignment envelopes were mailed out on Friday, and fell into mailboxes all over the city on Saturday.

The school district was vague about exactly when assignments would be announced; the official date was "sometime in April." So they were early, and no one was rushing the postman to look(except my friend Cindy, whose house is last on her mail route and had already had several calls from other parents by the time hers came at 3 or so).

The mail came while we were eating breakfast, but I didn't check it until noon, just before I headed out the door to a meeting. RW had already left to drop off the Girl at a friend's house. I sorted through the junk and saw the unassuming little envelope from the Enrollment Center, addressed to RW.

I didn't want to open a letter not addressed to me, but...oh, how I wanted to know. I wanted to know! Right then! And not wait until I got back from my meeting and RW got back from her errands.

It wasn't a security envelope, so I held it up to the light, and squinted, and saw the name of the Yuppie Smartypants School. Our first choice.

So-- that's it. I'm glad she'll be going there, though our 2nd and 3rd choices were homey and cozy in a way the YSS isn't, quite, and both offered more diversity. I've written ad nauseum about the whole School Choice thing, so won't go into it here. I think she'll like the school, though.

We're lucky. We are lucky. I know one family who got their 4th choice school, and another who got their 6th and last choice. And all the schools on our list were fine. We have nothing to complain about. But...

I've been thinking all weekend about how life is a series of possibilities being narrowed, and how periods of indecision, or of waiting-for-a-decision-to-be-handed-down, have a kind of richness, as if you get to have more than one life: in my mind, MG was going to the Smartypants Yuppie School and the Diverse Local School and the Other Cozy Neighborhood School with the Swimming Program; because I didn't know where she'd really be going, a part of my imagination had her at each place, and reaping the benefits of each place. Now she's just going to one school, it's solid, it's decided, and those other two schools are just ghost-futures for my child.

It's like when we didn't know whether RW was going to have a boy or a girl. We both really wanted a girl, but of course had to bear in mind that we might have either. So I made a place in my head for each, like most people do. We had a girl-name and a boy-name picked out. And when the ultrasound tech said it was definitely a girl, we were thrilled, but even so I remember a small wisp of sadness as the place I'd held open for that little boy closed up.

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the Interview Meme. For now, just picture me on the back of my boyfriend's moped, or in similar Normal Fun-Loving Teenager situations, while a tiny hum in the back of my mind goes "Yeah, this is okay, but...well, I'm Too Young to Know, anyway."

That'll take care of about three years.

Yeah, there is such a thing as being in that rich yet static state of undefined future for too long. I should know.


Blogger Rosie Bonner said...

You know, I don't think I've ever seen this precise phenomenon, one extremely familiar to me, described before. And you capture it just perfectly. "...wisp of sadness as the place I'd held open for that little boy closed up." Yes, yes, yes, yes!

11:06 AM  

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