Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting oriented

Last night, I cooked dinner for my family. (I wrote about it on the Boomer Babes Blog today) But we didn’t get to eat together. As Scot and the kids came in the door, I was walking out, to ride over to the high school with my neighbors Laura and Jon.
It was parent orientation night. Our oldest kids (their son and my daughter) will be starting high school in the fall. They’ve already taken placement tests, registered for school, and now, we had to get oriented.
Which is a good way to put it, because I feel very disoriented. How did I suddenly become old enough to have a child in high school? How did my baby get so tall and wise so fast?
We happen to live in one of the top school districts in the state, and after hearing the presentations last night, I can see why. The focus is on college prep. Students who lag behind (defined as getting one F in any class, or D’s in two classes) are put into guided study halls to make sure they straighten up and fly right. There are courses are offered at general, college-prep or advanced levels, so that every student has a chance to be challenged, but also to succeed. We’ll be getting schedules with placement information in a few months. We had to turn in forms with elective choices for the kids—and guidance counselors offered us advice on getting the history requirement done as a freshman elective. Perusing the thick course catalog, looking at academic department flow charts, I felt like I was in college orientation, rather than high school.
I sat in the auditorium, between two moms I’ve known since our girls were in diapers. I looked around the room, seeing families from my neighborhood, moms from soccer teams Melanie’s played on, parents I recognized from church.
And as much as I’m overwhelmed by the idea of my little girl going to high school, I felt blessed. Not just because we can afford to live in a good school district (believe me, the taxes are not cheap!) but because we live in a neighborhood that is amazingly stable, and amazingly connected. The vast majority of the kids who were in Melanie’s kindergarten class will be going to high school with her in the fall. Five of those kids live within a block of us. And I know their families.
And that was the most orienting thing about orientation night—knowing that the parents who’ve been beside me at soccer games, driven my kids in carpools, suffered through PTA meetings and grade school field trips with me—those friends will also be here as we journey these next four years, as our teenagers grow and become more independent. My prayer is that we’ll all continue to help each other raise our kids—to watch out for them, to love them, to encourage each other as we face frustrations and challenges that are an inevitable part of parenting, especially parenting teenagers. And by caring for the kids, we’ll take care of each other, as we have for the last fourteen years.


Llama Momma said...

You have no idea how much this encourages me.

As a public school Mom (also in a fantastic school district), I'm still learning the ropes. (My boys are only in Kindergarten.)

But I'm building these relationships and so grateful for the support of other Moms in my neighborhood!

Many of my friends have chosen to homeschool or send their kids to private school, which I applaud, it's just not for us. Sometimes I feel alone in the Christian community because of my choices.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Llama mama,
Love your blog, BTW. Thanks for your thoughts.
Our public school is a good one, because parents are very involved. And our neighborhood is pretty special--a lot of socializing together, a lot of volunteering together. I am a strong believer in parents being involved in the public schools. It makes all the difference.
Keep building those friendships--they're treasures that really matter. And you are doing the right thing for your kids. Everyone has to choose what's best for them and for their family--and there are, I think, a lot of benefits from being involved in a more diverse school community.

Praise and Coffee said...

Oh, it all goes by so fast doesn't it.


Alana said...

Hi Keri,

I popped over from Praise and Coffee.

I must say I did a double take when I saw your name. I'm reading "Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life" right now!

As I was reading through her comments, I thought, "hmmm, that name sounds familiar ;-)

Really enjoying the book by the way. Feeling convicted at pretty much every page turn, but that is a good thing.


Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Welcome. So glad you came to visit and that you are enjoying Breathe.
A lot of women feel that way when they read the book, but hopefully, you also feel encouraged--that even taking one small step to slow down and simplify is a good thing! Just take the Sabbath Simplicity journey one step at a time.
Hey, I looked at your profile and saw you have a recipe blog. cool! I love to cook. If you click on the link to Boomer Babes Rock you'll see my post from Thursday is about how love smells like onions cooking!
I hope you'll stop by again!

Alana said...

Hello again, Keri! Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my last post. I love that God ultimately had the victory that morning.

The recipe blog is actually my friend Dawn's, but I am a contributor. If you'd like a place to post your recipes, I could have her put you on as a contributor. Just let me know!

Have a wonderful day!