Different choices

When Abby was young we research schools, private and public. We started in Montessori and would have kept her there if there was an option of a larger school. When we had Boo that changed.

We could no longer afford private school. Thankfully that is the only thing we had to compromise with having Boo. But still, the choice to move to public school for both girls was one we thought long and hard about.

Long enough to contemplate giving up wine, vacations and chocolate.

Thankfully we live in an awesome town. One that has a great educational program, both for the typical and the special. Abby had a hard transition to the formal education program, rather than the more nurturing Montessori. It took time for her to find her groove, but she did. 

I haven’t really thought of our choice for public school. Boo has thrived, simply thrived in her program. Unlike other families we have fallen into a simply awesome program. And then it happened.

I was at the grocery store and ran into a mother of a child who was a classmate of Boo’s last year. Her child had moved on to kindergarten. I asked, innocently enough, how E was enjoying kindergarten. For some reason I assumed that she was in the same public school system. Until the mom informed me they had gone the private school route. 

“You have to have Boo go there for kindergarten”, she innocently said.

In my head I am thinking do you remember Boo? She is right here sitting in the shopping cart. Unlike other 5 year-olds who no longer fit in the cart. Boo is being Boo. Cute, adorable Boo. But not anywhere on par with her own child.

I simply reply that we love the program she is currently enrolled. In my mind I am thinking that we won’t know until late Spring if Boo will be ready for kindergarten or if she will spend a 4th year in pre-K. Which, if needed, I am generally fine with. Until a mother innocently assumes that Boo is “normal” and will be following the normal trajectory of education.

This mother didn’t mean to make me catch my breath. It is just one of those moments when I hit the wall. The wall of knowing that with Boo I have different decisions to make. Ones that will impact Abby more than Boo. Ones where Boo takes precedent of Abby. Our family. Knowing that where we live matters. That we cannot move or change careers or schools at a whim. Knowing that to give Boo the best life possible we all make sacrifices.

Even Abby. Although she doesn’t know it. Abby is in public school because the cost of a special needs child is quadruple (made up figure) what a typical child costs. That we need a larger car to fit Boo’s chair. That we have to pay for extra health insurance . That I have to limit my hours at a well-paying job to be there for Boo’s appointments. Limiting my paycheck and David’s as well. We haven’t saved as we had before Boo. Our savings account has not grown as we expected. This Christmas was a perfect illustration of our new situation. That we didn’t spoil our loved ones as in years past.

We are so, so, so, very lucky to live in a town with a great public school system. One that nurtures both girls. That allows both girls to not only achieve their potential but surpass it. I don’t begrudge Boo. David doesn’t even consider it. Abby, if she knew, would be okay with it.

And I am too. 

Until an innocent bystander assumes that Boo could just transition to a typical classroom.

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