Years ago a spiritual mentor of mine told me something profound that I am drawing on today in the aftermath of the preschool admissions process.
“Follow the green lights,” I was told when I was a tender young girl nursing a broken heart from a relationship that wasn’t working out (perhaps because the object of my affection was actively alcoholic and gay, which I decided were two red lights, or at least one red and one very pink). To follow the green light means take the path that is open– date a guy who likes you (or likes women, as a start) and let go of following paths that only present obstacles, heartache and struggle.
So, today when Simon and I took a lovely stroll to the school we will call home next year, I thought about Megan’s words to me years ago. This morning, I made a decision not to brood over the schools who put us on their waiting lists (or “waiting pools”), because those are the red lights. The school that welcomed us with a nice letter and a very thoughtful tuition bill, that’s the green light. That’s the path of possiblity, the future, and forward motion for our family. As I climbed the stairs to the school holding the signed contract I felt happy and open-hearted as I greeted the security guard and introduced myself to everyone I met. I resisted the temptation to sign up to run the school’s fundraiser next year, which would turn the joy I was feeling into a task (and a resentment in very short order).
As Simon and I made our way back home, I thought to myself that like Sadie, who will be brand new to school in five months time, I too will be new at parenting a child who goes to school. I hate being new at things. I hate that awkward “what do I do? what do I say? what do I wear?” feeling when I am doing something for the first time. I started thinking about the new people I would meet and what it would feel like to meet Sadie’s teachers or volunteer in the lunchroom. (What do you wear to serve lunches to 3-year-olds? Seriously.) Change is coming; I can see its contours coming on the horizon. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was terrified of all it (letting my baby go out into the world (for 2 hours a day, but STILL), joining the school community, potentially encountering Tiger moms and dads who have taught their 3-year-old advanced algebra, and figuring out carpools and school supplies. And I would also be lying if I didn’t admit that I felt excited and joyful and proud for all that is coming as soon as the end of this summer.
Here’s to following the green lights on this fine St. Patrick’s day, when the green is so, so sweet.