Saturday, January 18, 2014

The view from the eye of the storm

It was a long night. Lu came down with the stomach bug that's been going around. Thankfully she is resting comfortably now, alongside her dad who stayed up most of the night with her. One of the hardest things I've had to do as a parent is to watch my child struggle with discomfort or pain.

I've felt uncomfortable and unsettled a lot these days. As a Boston resident, we have to enter into a lottery system to determine which school Lu is assigned to for kindergarten. I've watched many friends receive a coveted slot in a good school, or a reputably mediocre placing that ended up happily surprising them. However, I've seen many other families leave the city in droves or go the private school route. After an amazing preschool experience, we will move before accepting a spot we are uncomfortable with. Last year, we opted for another year of paid preschool rather than take a spot that would be a 45 minute bus ride across town at a school rated 3 of 10 on Great Schools where the parents are asked to supply the toilet paper.

Regrettably, this random system also affects where we will live. Boston has become our home over the last 12 years. Most of our good friends live here, and I feel shaken at the thought of selling our condo and moving to a town with better schools. And which one, where to start?! It has been so hard for me not to have a 5 or 10 year plan, let alone a 1 year plan. I'm trying to embrace this unknown future as a new opportunity to create the life my family and I envision.

We mark the passage of time with these arbitrary measurements: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years. Amid the current upheaval of my daily existence, I've tried to focus less on the passage of time and more on the moments. Holding my daughter close while she finally naps after a long night of sleeplessness. Smiling to see that I've received a message from a friend. Creating content to share with my family and friends, finally releasing the torrent of words that I didn't realize I'd been stifling by not writing.

Most importantly, focusing on the moments helps me to be the person I strive to teach my daughter to be. I can have a bit of a temper and impatient personality, probably inherited from my mom and her Irish roots. I know you're readings this, so thanks, mom! Fortunately, this is balanced by my dad's stoic English stock. My dad taught me to be patient and kind. I remember he admonished me as an adult for not stopping to greet some workers outside my building. Never forgo an opportunity to be nice to someone, he said. My dad proudly displays posters around his house with adages like "lost time is never found again" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." My advice to myself is displayed on my fridge in magnet form: "Be kind. No exceptions. -Secret Agent L." I may not know where we'll live or where my daughter will go to school next year, and that is a scary thought to me. But if I can enter into this journey showing grace and compassion to everyone I encounter, I will be better off for it.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written, Charis. Hope Lu is feeling better!