“I love you, mom. Go home. Do work, play WoW, have a weep.”
This was Gretchen’s advice to me as I dropped her off school this morning for her first day of grade five.
And yes, you read that right. After a summer of talking and planning and many late night discussions, Gretchen decided she wanted to go to public school for the first time in her life.
A little history if you’re new here — she attended a Montessori school for three years and after that was homeschooled from grade 2 through grade 4. I always said that we would take homeschooling one year at a time and follow her lead, but I’ll freely admit my heart wasn’t ready to hear her say she wanted to try public school.
Like not even a little.
Last week I met with the principal and checked out the school. It’s small and quaint and actually reminds me a lot of my public school as a child. I’m pretty sure they were built around the same time. But even though it’s small, it’s not Montessori small. Or homeschool small. And I was the mom asking “can I just stay until the bell?” while she was heading off with friends.
But hey, I didn’t cry.
I came home and had some serious anxiety sweats like a good mom and now I’m counting down the minutes until I can pick her up again and make sure she’s ok and that nothing crushed her spirit.
Gretchen is adventurous.
She is confident.
She is brilliant.
And I know she will be having a great day and it’ll all be new and I’m just hoping that her classmates will see her as enough of a novelty that it will work in her favour instead of singling her out as “the weird homeschool kid”.
She is Luna Lovegood.
She is Anne of Green Gables.
She is everything I wasn’t and I’m doing my best to keep all of my worries to myself because I don’t want it to ruin something she’s excited about.
“Thank you for seeing this through.”
She said this as we drove up to the front of the school this morning, fully aware that I’ve got my own worries about her attending a public school. She knew it was hard for me. And I’m so heckin’ proud of her for making this choice on her own and trying something new.
So, here’s to first days.
The first day of school that feels very much like bringing her to Montessori on her first day of Casa.
The first September in four years where I’ll be able to work a significant amount during the day and not just at night.
The first step of a brand new adventure.