In this bizzaro, upside down, unprecedented time, it seems so strange when there’s anything “normal” to be nervous about.
Luckily, fate has done me a solid and thrown in just one of those things this week.
Somehow, I am old enough to have a child entering high school, and (also somehow) letters go out this week on whether or not she has been accepted to the school of her choice.
The school will mail the letter on Thursday and send an email on Friday. I foolishly promised my daughter that I would not read the email without her. (Please comment below how “bad” you think it is to break a promise like that to your child. Bad, huh?)
I don’t recall my parents being concerned about me being accepted into my high school, or any of my siblings. But here I find myself, contemplating bribery and deception to achieve the ending she wants.
This journey started nearly 2 years ago, innocently enough, with open houses. In the grease-trap-garbage fire that was last year, she had to carefully select her final choice from the finalists without the aid of the coveted “spend the day,” a full day spent at the school, among the students as they socialize, gossip, and – oh, yeah… attend classes. She also had to make this choice with precisely ZERO help or coaxing from me, as I reminded her over and over again that (at the tender age of twelve) the decision that she makes is for her future, not mine (with the understanding that if she hates it, of course, she’s not doomed for the next 5 years, we will work something out). And since the Archdiocese has decreed that all high schools start at 8th grade and not freshman year, she is making all these plans and decisions ONE YEAR EARLIER than I did.
How can we, as parents of children entering NOLA parochial high schools for the ’21-’22 school year, feel anything but anxiety at the situation, and AWE of our children that they are navigating these waters through the longest lasting disaster in several generations? I get chills as I consider what SHE has had to accomplish. Difficult at any normal time, but right now? Unimaginable. In a year when so many of our fiercely cherished New Orleanian traditions (Saints games, carnival, Jazz Fest) have been impossible to participate in, this group of pre-teens (and their soon to be broke parents) still have this one. These kids have had to somehow prepare for this huge step while having their PARENTS as substitute teachers, while sharing learning materials with siblings, while missing out on their favorite activities. Even so-this bit of nerve-wracking normalcy is a bright spot in an otherwise dull time, and this rite of passage is still passable.
It’s a tired trope in this year of woe and want, so DON’T check on us, the parents of kids entering high school. We’re not ok, but that’s ok. I mean, we will soon be parents of teenagers. We’re going to have to get used to that.