The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Multiple Choice

The letter informing us where my daughter, Phoebe, will go to kindergarten this fall arrived a couple of weeks ago. “Welcome to ABC School…” it began. It was my first choice out of the three schools I’d checked off on the registration form. I should have been happy. Instead, the whisper of doubt that had been in the back of my mind since making my choice last March was now as impossible to ignore as a car alarm gone ballistic in the middle of the night.

I wasn’t worried about student to teacher ratios, test scores or curriculum. One of the things that thrilled us most about Mill Valley when we moved here last summer was the reputation of its schools. When it came time to enroll Phoebe, I made the logical choice and selected the school closest to us.

But maybe I’m not so logical after all. When I learned that most of Phoebe’s friends from preschool would be attending my second choice school, I wanted to call the district office and beg for her to go there, too.

I know that she’ll make new friends wherever she goes to kindergarten. And I know that learning to cope with new people and situations is part of growing up. I’m just not sure if she’s ready—or I’m ready— to start from scratch again quite so soon.

Our move was harder on her than I’d expected. I moved frequently as a child myself, attending four elementary schools by the time I was 11. So I know how painful it can be to leave familiar worlds behind. But Phoebe was only 4 and, unlike me, she’s naturally outgoing. Moving wouldn’t be that big of a deal for her, I told myself.

I was wrong.

We were lucky to find a warm and welcoming preschool here. But often during the drive to drop her off—especially during those first months— I’d catch a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror looking uncharacteristically sad. “I don’t want to go to school, Mama,” she’d say. “I wish I were back at my old school.”

Pining for her old school eventually gave way to daily tales of escapades with her new friends. Recently, she even had her first sleepover with her “best friend” Isabelle (who will be going to school number two).

Last week I received another letter from the school district. Turns out there had been a mix-up—Phoebe was actually supposed to be enrolled at school number two. I couldn’t have agreed more.

By Dorothy O’Donnell

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