Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When Your Mother Is A Huge Chicken

At the moment, I'm having ridiculous amounts of anxiety about Cecilia's potential future school situation. The school we are trying to get her into is amazing. Outstanding academics, athletics and culture - this place has it all. It also comes with a price tag that is approximately 30% of our annual income. Obviously this is not doable, so we have applied for a scholarship/financial aid and are waiting to hear the results. We've already prepped Celi about the possibility of this not coming to fruition because I'd rather expect the best and prepare for the worst. Maybe I'm a cynic, but I feel that being honest and direct about some of this is a better approach for us.

Truth be told, I'm actually more scared of her getting in that not, I think. I can handle disappointment and I'm good at cheering people up and pointing out the bright side of a situation that hasn't gone your way. I'm not scared of finding somewhere else for her to go for middle school, or of what anyone may or may not think of me. I'm scared for her. Which is hilarious, because she is not scared a bit. Waltzed in like she owned the joint this past Saturday when we went for her testing.

It's interesting how your own experience as a child shapes your perspective as a parent. When I was a kid, my dad decided that I was too precious for public school (don't even get me started - let's just agree that this was crazy) and sent me to an expensive school in a very exclusive part of town. How my parents afforded this is a complete mystery to me but went I did. Went and was miserable. Excluded, picked on, looked down on, mocked - you name it and it happened. I didn't have the right clothes, I had stupid hair and braces. I didn't live in the right part of town, I didn't know anything about snobby people and I managed to get my very first F. I was eleven. Less than one year older than my daughter is now, and in the same grade she will be next school year.

My own emotional scars keep screaming at me that this is the exact same thing. My inner voice is silently shrieking at me, "Why are you doing this to her? WHY? Don't you know what will happen to her? Didn't you learn?!" Then we go to the school campus. And it's amazing. And the girls who go there are accepted in the best schools in the country. And the teachers are amazing. And and and and and...

And so I tell myself over and over that this is not the same. And that if she is unhappy, we will simply walk back into her current school and pick up where we left off. And that we will talk to her about the pitfalls of elitism and snotty behavior. And that we are trying to give her an opportunity that could easily change the direction of her life forever. And that she is SO much better equipped than I was, due largely to having a much more stable and normal home life, and a huge familial support system.

But I'm scarred. And this makes me not just scared, but terrified. The very idea of my most precious daughter experiencing the same pain makes me crazed with worry. It makes me want to hold her in the place where I know it's easy, in order to keep her safe. But that's not safe, it's frightened, and sad.

Safe is being taught to fly, and then nudged from the nest, stretching your wings and catching the air, then sailing high into the sky. Safe is learning to stand strong when things are tough. Safe is the confidence you savor like candy when you've done something difficult. I want my daughter to soar with eagles, not hide like chickens. So if that means I have to jump from the nest too, so be it. We'll fly together, and if we don't, we know we tried, and I'd much rather say that we gave it a shot, than that we were too scared to try.

So, fly, my baby girl, fly.

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Number Whisperer said...

"the very idea of my most precious daughter experiencing the same pain" might be the biggest reason I've never wanted daughters. I know exactly what you're talking about. And while having all boys has been a nice way to avoid the kind of meanness that only a mean girl can bring, my determined psyche has found other ways to obsess over their emotional well-being. Thank goodness for dh, whose hang ups are totally different from mine. We keep each other balanced, lol. Great post.

bereccah5 said...

oh definitely. I have a whole other set of neuroses to dwell on for my son. She'll be fine - it is just hard for me to separate the two experiences! Thanks for coming by...