There are some things that no matter how long or how much you prepare, you will never be ready. That’s the biggest takeaway I got from being a parent. This week, my daughter started public school. This is a big step for all of us. For her, it means being away from Mom and Dad for over six hours five days out of the week. For us, it means not hearing her make up stories of princesses frolicking with unicorns or giant bears. It’ll be quieter, which will be odd, even if it’s for a few hours.
The decision to put her in school wasn’t easy. But we came to the agreement that this will be the best thing for her. She can get help with reading and math. She’ll meet new people and develop friendships that hopefully will last longer than time on the playground. There are a couple of concerns. The biggest is that she’ll be different. By that, I mean that she’s mixed–mother is Caucasian and I am African-American. Yes, it’s a cost we counted years ago when we discussed having children, but it doesn’t hit home until you see it yourself.
It’s one thing when your parents enroll you in school. You don’t see everything that entails. It’s a different animal altogether when you are said parent. We had to make sure her health records were up-to-date. The hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies and clothes. Deciding whether or not she’ll ride the bus, and learning what bus she’ll take and when to be at the bus stop. Budgeting for school meals. Meeting the teacher(s). Meeting the parents.
Saying that it’s overwhelming is an understatement. But those are the costs you count to ensure your child will grow into the adult you hope he or she will be. But it brings about a question. If I’m not ready for her to go to school, what other things will I not be prepared for? Driving? Boyfriends? Jobs? College? Marriage? Kids of her own? There’s a lot in which I will never be truly ready for? But I have to take it one day at a time, just like everything else.