When the best isn’t the best after all

standard June 29, 2009 2 responses

We finally figured out the preschool thing. C is headed to a new place in the fall. It wasn’t an easy decision, but a necessary one. In the end we just wanted to do what was right for her.

And isn’t that always the case?

Parenting is all about making choices, making decisions. We’re given options and we chose what we think is going to be best for our kids, our families, our lives.

So yes, we switched preschools because the class sizes and school are bigger, which we think will help C prepare for Kindergarten, the schedule works better for all of us, and the price tag is smaller. But other than that we’re flying blind. Well not so blind since the school comes highly recommended, but still.

My fear as a parent is that I’ll someday make the wrong decision. It won’t be wrong based on the information that I had, it’ll be wrong because of a factor I didn’t even know about. Which, technically can’t possibly be my fault, but which I’ll never forgive myself in any case.

The list of ‘what ifs’ is endless. I mean, what if some child next year brings some rare dread disease to school and C catches it? What if there’s a child in the class that she fights with every day? What if she doesn’t get along with her teachers? What if I get into a car accident turning into the preschool’s driveway? All things that would have been avoided if we’d stuck with the original preschool.

And technically all things that could just as easily happened at the original preschool. (Except for the teacher thing, because they rocked. And I didn’t just say that because one of them might happen to maybe read this blog. Hi S-R! Ahem.)

In the end there’s only so much planning you can do. You make the best decision possible with the information you are given and you hope that it all works out for the best.

In Anita Shreve’s Testimony parents learn the hard way that sending your child to an expensive elitist private boarding school might seem like the right thing to do. Or at the very least is what society might assume is the right thing to do. But in the end it doesn’t protect them any better than keeping them home and sending them to public school. It’s the story of every parent’s worst nightmare. You make that choice, the one you think is best for your child, and you learn the hard way that you were very, very wrong. Which only goes to show that sometimes “best” doesn’t mean “most expensive” or even “what other people might think is best.”

I’m taking this lesson to heart and I’m struggling to keep my family and more importantly my child in mind as I make decisions about her future. I truly think this school is what’s best for her and I just hope that I’m right.

Which takes care of preschool for next year, leaving me to just figure out what to do about Kindergarten the year after.

This post was inspired by this month’s Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club. Click through to see other posts inspired by Anita Shreve’s Testimony.

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2 responses

  • So true. As a parent, it’s so scary realizing that ultimately you really have little control. And, you can do everything right, make the best decisions for your children, but in the end something can still go wrong.

    Currently we know some parents going through this very thing. They did everything right, made all the right decisions for their teenager, yet this kid still made some grave, illegal choices. Everyone is shaking their heads, wondering why.

    When I was reading the book, I kept going back over the passage where Ellen kept noting the “irony” that she sent her son away to boarding school to safeguard him from harm. Only to have him commit such irresponsible, illegal acts.

  • Funny, I was so busy reading all the parallels between the book and my own experience that I missed the overarching message against expensive boarding schools. I did think that the educational benefit was missing from the book, or did think that Avery was supposed to be a blow off school. But I also thought that Ellen’s belief that sending her son away would make him be safer was naive. How could sending your child away ever make him safe? The only reason to send your kid away is if you think it will be a better opportunity, something he can’t get at home, like Anna thought with the arts. Did you think the headmaster character was a little weak though? I couldn’t get a clear sense of his motivation and he seemed to be the catalyst of everything happening.

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