My younger daughter started high school two and a half weeks ago and it’s time for Parent Night, known in other schools as curriculum night. My other daughter graduated from the same school and I never once made it to Parent Night. I think that when she was a Freshman, I was just clueless and missed it. The next two years, her dad agreed to cover it, but he ended up bailing out due to traffic or some other excuse. Her Senior year I was all set to go when I thought, why? It seemed too late to get in on the plan. But with my youngest, I want to start off doing all the right stuff…so I went.
After a long day of work, I went home and made sure my kids had dinner before leaving for the half-hour trip to my daughter’s school. At Eight Mile (yeah, *that* eight mile), the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down. I continued on. The traffic grew worse, likely the other parents heading to the school through storm and road work. I arrived just in time and hurried to my daughter’s advisor group.
My daughter, in a burst of exuberance (her normal state) had not only printed out a map of her school with hand-written notes about where all her classes were, but had printed maps to get me from each class to the next, expecting much (or little?) of me. In the end, the one, overall, map was all I needed. After all, I am an engineer…map-reading skills kind of come with the territory.
I worked my way through her schedule. She goes to an independent, all-girls, Catholic, college prep school. We had little time between classes and only ten minutes per class. My daughter knows several of her classmates, girls from several spheres of her life, and I *kind of* know their parents. So, as much as I tried to absorb her schedule and get to know her teachers, I was looking around for familiar faces just like a Freshman going to an all new high school.
I started in advisor group. There I learned that the girls have a check-in and check-out point. We waited a bit longer there as the thunderstorms had knocked out a major traffic light and delayed many parents. I looked around at the parents, one smiled and I smiled back. I didn’t know anyone there. When it was time to go to first hour, I checked my map and saw that I had to high-tail it all the way to the other end of the school to the gym. At the gym, I found one of my carpool families. We didn’t know the other woman in our carpool, but mnaged to find her and introduced ourselves. We thanked one another profusely…the carpool is saving our sanity.
For second hour I only had to cross the lobby and find the drama studio. I imagined that my daughter would enjoy her Acting 101 class as she’s done quite a lot of acting over the last several years. The teacher was enthusiastic, an alumnae of the school, and talked about getting the girls to unzip themselves and step out into a new self. She wants to help them past that awkwardness. I didn’t think my daughter needed that, but later she told me that it is awkward…doing improv and acting exercises is not the same, she tells me, as getting a script and working on a play.
Third hour came fast and this time I had an even longer walk. All the way to the other end of the school and beyond…down a long hallway and down into the basement…way off the map. I was expecting a dreary room, but instead was delighted to find a wall of glass at the back of the room which looked out onto a peaceful wetlands scene. Too bad only the teacher gets to face it. I only had to backtrack halfway through the school to get to my fourth hour class, and was glad fifth hour was right next door. But just as fourth hour ended, an assembly was called and off I went to the auditorium for some pep speeches.
I made it through the rest of the “day” and even saw one of my own friends, one whom I rarely see…just to smile, clutch hands, and then be pulled apart by the parents streaming by. Wow, school is so stressful! Fortunately for me, my daughter is comfortable in this environment. She is thriving and I couldn’t be happier…despite the carpool/commute.
Find the Joy in the Journey…Sometimes the Joy is in helping a loved one find the perfect start to her own Journey!