“I’m sure you weren’t expecting this …”
… it’s usually an even worse sign.
In this case, however, he had called to say that The Spoiled One was being recommended for a scholarship to a boarding school. We had never considered boarding school for five seconds. She’d already been admitted to a private, Catholic girls school with a stellar academic reputation. It was the school we had picked out for her two years ago.
She’d done the campus visit, studied for her high school placement test, gone for her interview and gotten admitted. We’d even mailed in the registration fee. It was all set.
So … I took a deep breath and said,
“We will go visit. That is as far as I am willing to commit.”
When I told the rocket scientist about this, he looked as if he had been kicked in the stomach. He had waited 42 years to have a child and wasn’t at all ready to have her living somewhere else.
Well, we did go visit. The school is in a drop-dead gorgeous setting. The student-teacher ratio is 10 to 1. The average SAT scores are 200 points above the national average. But still, she would be moving into a dorm, at fourteen years old.
Impatient with all of the agonizing and discussing, The Spoiled One stamped her feet for attention and said,
“I think you people are under-estimating me.”
It’s funny how many people now when we tell them that we are sending our child to boarding school respond with a long pause, unsure what to say. Some have even gone as far as to ask if anything is wrong. We’re not sending her to rehab, for Christ’s sake!
In fact, one reason we were willing to entertain the idea of her living away from home five days a week is that she hasn’t ever gotten into any real trouble. Right now, she has a 4.0 GPA for the semester, she’s made honor roll every year, been on the student council for three years, plays soccer four or five times a week.
Boarding school is not the typical choice in this country and she won’t be going to school with a lot of typical kids. In fact, there are kids from over twenty countries living in the dorms.
The more we talked about it and visited, the more we could see her fitting in there. It’s interesting, when I read posts from other west coast parents they all say the same thing – they never considered boarding school, but when their child brought it up and they looked into it, it seemed like the right choice.
So, no, there is nothing “wrong”.
Are we nervous? Of course we are nervous! I still can’t believe it wasn’t just last week that she was eight years old making her First Communion.
I have tried very hard never to hold my children back in life. I have taken a deep breath and put my 17-year-old daughter on a plane to fly across the country and enroll in New York University, which I had never even seen, but which sucked up half of my income for 3 1/2 years.
I took another deep breath and sent my 16-year-old daughter to Boston to live with the best judo coach in the country, so she could train for the Olympics.
I drove my nineteen-year-old daughter to San Francisco to start her junior year of college at San Francisco State. Two years after she graduated, I drove her back to LA to start her masters program at USC.
So, yes, I’m used to taking a deep breath and letting go.
As the saying goes,
“There are two things we must give our children. One is roots, and the other is wings.”