It's time I faced the truth. I've become what I, at one time, laughed at. Verbally poked fun at, even. Something I thought I would never find satisfaction in, yet I do. I am a fairly stereotypical suburbanite mom. Yesterday proved it.
Yesterday was registration at our local public school. It began at 7 a.m. and parents were free to come anytime after that point. It was also when all students were finally able to pick up their teacher assignments.
Let me background my community. It’s a fairly small town (16,000) ten minutes from the downtown of a mid-size city, most residents are college educated and married and there are a lot of stay at home parents (mostly moms). Parents here don’t just meet with their children’s teachers from time to time to discuss little Tommy’s progress; no, no, parents here have a working knowledge of which teacher said what to which student five years ago because there were no less than three parents “helping” out in the classroom when said event occurred. Juicy stories whispered parent to parent at drop-off and pick-up are much more likely to revolve around a parent who dared not throw a bike helmet on Susie the first second she glanced at her bike than sordid details of illicit trysts or current national and international happenings (and, just for the record, my kids do wear their bike helmets).
Now, back to the teacher assignments. You’d think that envelope containing the name of their upcoming teacher was the Holy Grail itself the way some mothers, including me, acted yesterday morning. We got up early in the morning for the sole intent of getting to school as soon as humanly possible to answer the question that had been on my daughter’s and my minds all summer: will Madeleine get placed with Mrs. N, the fabulous teacher she had for Kindergarten and who is moving up to teach first grade?
I accepted early in the summer that with six first grade classes the likelihood was slim, and Madeleine’s chances were lowered even more by a principal whose professional history has a pattern of breaking up classes whose students were especially cohesive (which ours [notice how I call it “ours” as if I had been in the class?] was) and never assigning a repeat teacher to the same student. And with six first grade sections to choose from there was no earthly reason to believe this year, or Madeleine, would be any different.
I hardly made it out the office door with my (er... I mean Madeleine's) envelope before I ripped into it. My eyes raced down the page, skipping all the boring details about upcoming curriculum, academic goals for the year and when and where Madeleine needed to be on the first day of school and skipped right down to the part where it said Madeleine’s teacher was going to be… Ms. K. Huh. That wasn’t Mrs. N’s name. I glanced up in horror only to lock eyes with another mom from Madeleine's class last year. "Who'd D___ get, " I asked tentatively.
"Mrs. P, " D___'s mom answered miserably. "You?"
"Ms. K." I sighed. I almost felt like crying. I said almost, not that I did. And hey, in my defense, D___'s mom looked like she wanted to cry too.
But I got over it. You see, knowing that getting assigned to Mrs. N was going to be a long shot with about the same odds as Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock’s marriage lasting, I had created a back-up plan. Another teacher to hope Madeleine was assigned to. And that was Ms. K. So, no, we didn’t get our first round draft pick, but we did get a teacher who is supposed to be smart, sweet and a real hit with the kids and both Madeleine and I (to say nothing of my husband, Joe) are very excited to be assigned to someone who has a reputation of excellence.
All of this uber-concern over things that really, in the scheme of life, don’t matter that much is the bread and butter of where I live and although I poke fun at it, I love it. Pretty soon the sound of sliding mini-van doors and yelling children will be humming in my ear as I re-learn how to balance my latte while trying to single-handedly push our double jogger and dodge kids running from their Chevy Suburbans to their assigned doors. I’m thrilled school is starting next week and I can get back in the classroom and get to know “our” new teacher.