The Kindergarten Swap

Honestly, it’s been eighteen years already.  I need to let my guilt-laden memory morph into a kind pat on the back.  Yet every year I revisit my hasty assumption in believing what was best for my five year old son.  It was silly to beat myself up so badly then, and it’s ridiculous now to allow the internally harsh questioning of myself in how I tampered with Tim’s kindergarten experience.  Afterall, he is now 23, drug-free, employed, out of the nest, and in no way harmed by the choice I made for him long ago.

1993.  It was the week before school started, and I took Tim to meet his kindergarten teacher.  Mrs. B was kind hearted, and she explained routines and exhibitied the charming classroom to several of us parents.  It was a big circular room within the center of the school, kindergarten friendly in every way.  But then Mrs. B mentioned that because this year there was an huge overflow of incoming kindergartners, the school was forming another kindergarten class that a certain Mrs. N would be teaching.  Mrs. B asked if anyone would be willing to transfer their child to Mrs. N’s class.

Wait a minute, I thought.  Mrs. N?  I was thrilled.  She had been my daughter’s beloved first grade teacher.  I too, adored Mrs. N.  She was young, sweet, caring and a great teacher.  I had nothing against Mrs. B.  I simply didn’t have a history with her.

Quickly, I volunteered to have Tim switch teachers.  Never once did I think to ask Tim what he wanted.  Now we were leaving this big cozy round classroom that Tim thought would be his and walking outside to the back of the school.  There stood the familiar modular where two years before, Jana had been a first grader. 

Had I stopped to consider Tim’s thoughts rather than mine, I would have probably realized that to him this was a downgrade.  Indeed, when we got home that night, my little boy with the winsomly cute smile had turned sullen.  He let me know he wanted Mrs. B not Mrs. N.  My husband worked swing shift at the time, so I was alone in my punitive thoughts.  Crying quietly but copiously, I felt like the world’s meanest mother.  Certainly this kindergarten swap would forever alter Tim’s educational path.  He would hate school, and he would blame me forever for not taking his feelings into consideration.

Irrational?  Of course.  But I didn’t see it that way at the time.  And whenever the school season starts again, I remember the switcheroo.  Guilt invades this easy target who is me. 

The other part of this kindergarten swap story is that Tim ended up adoring Mrs. N.  He thrived in her classroom, met some great friends (including a little girlfriend named Flora), and learned a lot.  My son was not harmed in the formation of his educational  experience. 

I’m glad it all worked out.  If I had it to do over again, I would have put Tim’s thoughts first.  But I didn’t get a do-over.  Tim didn’t push for me to undo the change, and my husband liked the Mrs. N choice as well.  My silly son teases me to this day in declaring that he could have had Mrs. B for kindergarten, but oh no, his mom had other ideas.  I think after eighteen years, it’s time to stop revisiting this whole thing.  Plus, I’m pretty sure my son has forgiven me.  Right, Tim? 

About andreamarjulie

Just trying to navigate a life circumvented by chronic migraines. Sometimes I write about managing with those, but at other times I am prone to deviate a bit.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s