Pink Laundry: Choosing a school was an education in itself

Years of planning ahead didn't translate to being prepared when it came time to make the big decision

It seems like just yesterday  that we carried  our firstborn into the School Board office to decide her fate.

Little Miss Molly was just three months old and we were your typical first-time parents — nervous, anxious and terrified  of making any wrong decisions that would negatively affect her future.

Would our pint-size Picasso grow up to be an artist? Well, she sure loved to make a masterpiece out of her strained peas and carrots.  With that in mind we eagerly checked  the box signing her up for Langley Fine Arts School.

“What about French Immersion?”  I suggested to my husband Jason.

“Oui,” he replied, ticking off that box, too.

“You’re right,” I said. “Who knows, she might want to travel abroad for her semester in college or maybe grow up to be an airline hostess?”

There was also the Fundamental School and Montessori program on the list. Check and check.

Neither of us knew anything about the latter two schools, but figured there was no point in limiting our bambina’s educational potential.

During the drive home,  we talked non-stop about which school we’d eventually settle on for our daughter when the time came.

“Don’t stress honey, we don’t have to worry about that for a long time,” laughed Jason.

Fast forward to five years later — five of the fastest years of our lives — and there we were in a time crunch, trying to decide which school to send our future Kindergartner to.

And since we registered her for school practically straight out of the womb, there was no shortage of options.

“What do we do?” I asked just a week shy of her first official school day.

Despite deciding over the summer on one of the ‘choice schools’ from that list, made five years earlier, I found myself awake in the wee hours of the night stricken with crippling ‘choice anxiety.’

Had I made the right decision opting for the Fundamental School? We had heard nothing but rave reviews about it from parents and former students, but I wasn’t so sure.

Going there would mean committing to driving Molly and eventually her little sister, Zoe, to and from school, across town, for the next 12 years. There is no before or after- school-care on site nor school bus service, which would make ever re-entering the workforce near impossible.

Play dates would become complicated — would we still hear those little knocks at the door from schoolmates sporadically popping by to play?

There would no wading in puddles and collecting rocks, pinecones and colorful leaves as we had every afternoon en route to preschool the last two years.

Once winter arrived, we’d also have to brave icy roads — just the mere sight of a snowflake already gives me the chills.

And yet, even with all this in mind, I felt paralyzed with anxiety — doubt that kept me up into the wee hours, making me second guess our choice. Maybe I was just being lazy? Or was I selfish? Perhaps a combination of the two?

One thing I have learned is that parenting is a tough job and there is no one-size-fits all answer — this is especially true when it comes to choosing a school.

When in doubt, I did what many daughters in turmoil do.

I called my mom.

Growing up in a low-income single-parent family, we moved. A lot.

For myself, it  meant being the new kid a grand total of eight times, which wasn’t always the easiest hat to wear.

None of those schools were  ‘choice,’ but they fit the bill for a hard-working full-time cashier who  didn’t have the luxury of driving her offspring to and from school every day. Nor did she have the choice of living in a more affluent neighbourhood.

“You went to regular schools and look how you turned out?” said my mother during a late-night phone call.

“Life is hard enough, why make it more complicated?

“I really think you’re over-thinking this, Kristyl.”

It wasn’t until I was dropping Molly off for her first day at her neighbourhood school that I realized mom was right — I’m not just talking about my own mother.

“Mommy, all my friends from preschool are here and they have a library and water fountains, too!” exclaimed our little scholar, who was grinning from dimple-to-dimple when I picked her up from her first day of Kindergarten.

On the way home she skipped through the puddles and waved to her new friends who we discovered live in our complex.

Perhaps it was time I started trusting my own maternal instincts rather than second-guessing every single thought, every ‘choice.’

Well, at least until it’s time to start filling out post secondary applications.

Kristyl Clark is a stay-at-home-mom and founder of the family blogazine, She’s a Valley Mom

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Slo-pitch league to resume play

Township approves resumption, with restrictions, league president says

Langley invited to pedal kart race to raise funds for Madison Place families after fire

Langley businesses partner up with SouthRidge church for the three-weekend pedal go-kart fundraiser

No exodus of teachers during COVID year

Retirements are actually down for Langley’s school-based staff

Langley church donates $10,000 for Madison Place families left homeless after condo fire

‘When this one happened it was almost like deja vu,’ says pastor Paul Olson of SouthRidge church

Driver maces pedestrian after hit and run in Langley City

Police were on the scene at Michaud Crescent Wednesday morning

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read