Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A better fit

One morning last week, as Christopher was walking into preschool, he dropped some of his Easter eggs. I had his backpack in one hand and Colin on my hip, and was slow in helping him. Another mother stooped down to pick up an egg for him. She was chatting 90 miles an hour with a mother who looked exactly like her and didn't even look at Christopher. She just held out the egg and kept talking.

She noticed the egg, but didn't notice the little boy.

It's a good school. It's where we go to church. It would be alright if he stayed there.

But he isn't going to stay.

In the two years he has been there, we have had exactly one playdate with another child at the preschool. That means that not only has he not been invited anywhere, but also that I have not invited anyone anywhere either.

They just aren't our people, and neither are we theirs. It's not a matter of liking or disliking. It's just a matter of fitting.

I know that feeling. I spent my entire high school career not really fitting in, but not really being that upset by it.  In Jackson though, my parents believed that there weren't a lot of choices, and I did get an excellent education.

However, this isn't Jackson, and I don't have to defer to what seems like the path I should take just because of history. This is Raleigh. This is my turn to be the parent. This is my responsibility to find somewhere that my children can thrive in all aspects of life.

So I've pulled him from his preschool and enrolled him in an arts immersion preschool. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. At the same time, I'm so nervous I can hardly think about the switch.

The "supposed to's" are so ingrained. I rail against them, and I fall into them for security. I use them as a crutch, getting by for awhile and not realizing that they don't really fit until they start to blister.

"Now, Marty, tell me how you ended up at White? Because you just don't seem like a White kind of person."

This is what the mom at the one playdate said to me. It wasn't an insult, so please don't read it like that. It was just a curious question of how we ended up at that preschool. It's easy to stand out when everyone else looks pretty much the same (and DAMN if I know how all of those mama's of preschoolers are all a stinking size zero).

That was the moment I knew.

It was when I knew I wanted to make a change. I wanted to keep stretching my comfort zone to be the kind of parent that my boys need me to be. It was the same kind of light bulb moment when I decided to leave my OB's office and move to the Birth Center.

Scary, but oh so right.

If you grew up in the deep south, you probably get this. It's hard to be someone you aren't, but it's even harder to figure out how to be who you really are if you don't fit the common mold.

I'm breaking that cycle now. Starting this fall, I'm giving Christopher the kind of education that will allow him all of his drama, his eccentricities, and foster his love of music and art. It's the least I can do for him - allow him to figure out who he wants to be.