My oldest boy started kindergarten this year. Our neighborhood school pulls from all kinds of neighborhoods so I knew that Zach would have a good mix of kids in his class. Our district allows families to transfer to different schools (white flight) but Steve and I know how important it is to support your neighborhood public school. All my beliefs were put to the test the at kindergarten orientation. An elderly woman sits down beside me and proceeds to tell me her life story. Her son is in prison for life so she is raising her grandson. Her grandson's mom is in jail for drugs. And to top it all off her grandson thinks that she is mom and great grandma is grandma. Ugh! She is wondering when she should tell her grandson that she is really grandma. umm...NOW!!!
Jump forward to the first day of school. I'm relieved to find that this boy is not in my son's class. I figure we have dodged a bullet. But not so fast. At recess Zach and this boy find each other (of course) and become fast friends. Now grandma seeks me out for a playdate. She doesn't remember that we have met before - but our 10 minute conversation is branded on my brain. I manage to put her off for a couple of weeks while I ask all my friends what to do. The general consensus is to have this boy over for a playdate but try to get out of making it a regular thing. So we have him over and he is a really nice kid. Grandma comes in and checks out our house and asks all the right questions when you have a playdate. She tells me her life story again and fills in some of the blanks (Jason's dad "big Jason" didn't kill anyone, but had a shot out with the police and mom is out of jail but also out of the picture). Then grandma insists that they have Zach over for a playdate. I finally concede. I have to ask all the questions you are suppose to ask before a playdate but have never had to ask because all Zach's friends have been kids of my friends (any guns in the house? strange men?). I only leave Zach there for an hour but it seems like a lifetime. When I pick up Zach he is full of stories. They eat bacon, Ritz crackers and squeezy cheeze for lunch! (yum) They play guns and cops and robbers! (hmmmm...) They try to watch Sponge Bob but Zach tells them he isn't allowed to watch that! (good boy)
Zach hasn't been over since but we've maintained a nice relationship. (more on that later) In the midst of old of this I wonder if our ideals are getting in the way of our child's well being. Should we take flight also to a whiter school? But then one of my friends asks me a question - does he like school? Yeah he loves it. When a lot of my friends are having a have time getting their kids out the door each day, Zach greets each morning with a smile and can not wait to get to school. And isn't this half the battle. He loves his teacher and she loves him. I couldn't wish for a better start to his education. I know will have more battles on this road but for now he is happy and loving school. I couldn't ask for anything else.