Photo: I rushed through my errands this morning so that I could spend some time at the Old North Bridge because I’m officially and hopelessly in a writer’s block. It’s actually physically painful–I sit to write fiction and I get a monstrous headache. I battle and get nowhere… I thought the scenery would help. While brisk, beautiful and empty, I’m sad to say that it didn’t seem to do much. And so I keep seeking solutions…
Did I tell you that the first big kindergarten meeting is tomorrow, Dear Reader? It’s the first of several… but tomorrow is the first, and that’s a big freaking deal. I’m gonna miss the State of the Union and everything to be there and I’m pretty nervous.
There are many reasons to be nervous, in my point of view: I’m going to be sitting there as a mother of a child, but also as a former teacher. There is stuff I want to hear, stuff I want to know, stuff I want to feel after this meeting tomorrow night’s meeting. Of course, there are things I want to see, too, and I’ll talk about that in a second. Ultimately, though, tomorrow night will represent the beginning of a long-form answer to a question we’ve been asking ourselves since we put down the money to purchase this home:
Did we choose the right community?
This town was the best intersection of what we could afford and a school district with performance up to our standard. We tried our best to pick a diverse place, but we knew that was too much to ask for. So basically we picked the best school district that we could afford to live in (for the unfamiliar, in Massachusetts, the school districts are determined by the town you live in, not your county, so there is a lot less real estate in coveted districts, making property values astronomical), and it just happens to be a top-performing place. But, there are still a lot of variables and we are now leaving the stage of big, pretty statistics and about to wade into the deep minutia of the day-to-day, level-by-level, lesson-by-lesson learning that my boys are going to do. We’ve made a big investment here and have, in essence, taken on all the risk. We can’t afford the private schools in the area and my sanity would not survive homeschooling. So… this is it.
I will either love it, will be able to live with it, or hate it.
And then there is the little thing about probably being the only Black person in the room. I’m sitting here praying so many prayers that I won’t be the only Black person in the room tomorrow. And I have to be very specific: I don’t want to be the only African-American in the room tomorrow. There are African immigrants as well as immigrants from various parts of the Pacific region who live in my town and I’m really excited that my boys will get to go to school with a solid group of kids from international backgrounds, but their experiences are very different from that of my boys. For the most part, that’s great, because my boys need to learn some stuff. On the other hand, I’m just hoping that there is one child who will see my boys and know them because they are experiencing the world in a similar way. Just one. Two would be awesome but I’ll just take one. Just one family, Lord, please! Don’t want to do this completely alone!
That’s my reality. It’s comical, but it’s where I am now: I’m sitting here coming to terms with the very strong possibility that I’ll be the only African-American person at the big kindergarten enrollment meeting tomorrow.
For so many of you dear, wonderful readers, that paragraph above probably answered the question that I posed at the top of the post. Did we choose the right community? Some of ya’ll are screaming a resounding, NO. I get that… I make it complicated while, in many ways, it doesn’t have to be. Longtime readers have been with me every step of the way as I looked for this community, found a house in it and basically went to the mattresses to purchase it. So if I roll up on this meeting tomorrow and I come away disappointed, I’ll only have myself to blame.
maybe that’s why I’m so anxious. I don’t want to be wrong. And if I am wrong, I don’t want to be deeply and profoundly wrong. And what if I am? I’ve been living in this house that I love for 2 years now, finding little ways to love the surrounding the community and being challenged by it from time to time, but the context of this love affair has the potential to dramatically change if tomorrow night doesn’t go well.
And don’t even get me started on the potential implications I’ll be making for Major’s (and Minor’s by proxy) experience in this school system by the simple act of showing up tomorrow with my shoulder-length locs and brown skin! Damn my master’s degree and all those classes on the intersections of race, class and education! Every study is going to be crossing past my vision as I listen.
cool head, reasonable expectations. Make a good impression, allow others to make good impressions of their own. I’m not a teacher tomorrow, I’m a mother. Different mindset, different attitude…
Everything is going to be fine.
My treat will be getting back and watching the State of the Union. Hope ya’ll will be watching, too!
I’ll tell you how it goes on Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed for me, Dear Reader!
Until then, take care.