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My mother has a series of I-heard-it-a-thousand-times you-know-what-they-says and I have had the pleasure of hearing at least two of them this week and actually, going for a record, she was kind enough to share both in the same day.  The first was an insignificant reminder of one of her favorite “things that black parents say.”

I brought you into this world and I will take you out!

Who hasn’t heard this threat of death at least one or two hundred times?  Who has not used it?  My children know to back up when momma is holding a knife, wooden spoon, is near a pot, a stick, a broom, towel, paper, or anything that can be swung or thrown.

Knife/hanger/broom in hand like a crazed Mommy Dearest, “What did you say?”

The children are not beat but, they sure as hell fear a beating.  Who wouldn’t?  Anyway, I digress.  The second you-know-what-I-say actually fit, regardless of how many times I heard it and how crazy it actually sounds, the thought is empowering.

My son’s father and I have had our eyes set on a particular school for him since before he was born.  And despite our not being together and not always agreeing on a number of things, we both agree in the benefit of our precious attending our prize school.  There are other schools but, nothing that offers him the benefits and opportunities that are offered at our choice.  However, our choice is quite expensive and quite selective.

When my boy was three years old, we applied to the school, hoping to be able to secure at least a partial scholarship to help cover the final year of his preschool education.  He was accepted to the school but, did not get the scholarship.  As he was already at a pretty good preschool, we decided to forego enrollment that year and try for a scholarship the following year, in time for his enrollment in kindergarten.

So, like clockwork, I put in the application for his kindergarten year.  After his group observation, the admissions director called and advised that they were concerned that The Boy (of course, she didn’t call him The Boy), was not ready for kindergarten and that she would recommend him being considered for another year of pre-K.  I was shocked.  The Boy often displays an intellectual maturity past his few years of life.  His expression of thought, his attention to detail, his consideration for the thoughts and situations of others has most of us stumped most of the time.  Did I say I was shocked?

I spoke to his current teachers to get their input on this recommendation and realized that my son had mastered the art of “let them do it”.  He had his teachers believing that he could not write his name – which he can; that he needed help with his ABCs – which he doesn’t; that he needed help on most things – which he doesn’t.  My son had figured out, quite early, that he could get just about anybody to do just about anything for him and if they were willing to do it, then why should he waste his time…let them do it.

I requested another evaluation be conducted with the prospective school and taking into consideration that The Boy is extremely shy, we opted for it to be a second one-on-one evaluation.  I then had a lengthy conversation with him about showing people his capabilities so that they would know he was prepared for kindergarten.  I won’t go into detail but, he did beautifully and the admissions director decided that he could be considered for kindergarten.

One hurdle crossed….another in the distance. 

A few weeks after the re-evaluation, I got a letter advising that although my son qualified for a scholarship, the school was unable to offer him one at the time and he would be put on a waiting list.  What a disappointment but, it was certainly understandable that the school could not give a scholarship to everyone who applied and qualified…funds are limited.  I got it.  I really got it….for a minute.

After sitting with my thoughts and feelings and disappointment and well-it-is-what-it-is, I decided that I got it but, I was not going to be okay if my son was not at that school.  So, I contacted the admissions director.  I requested her advice on The Boy’s situation with an affirmation of understanding the school’s funding situation.  I, who hate passive-aggressiveness, was passive-aggressive. 

We talked by email, we talked by phone, I spoke to the business manager, she met with the head of the school, I emailed the business manager, I spoke to her, she spoke to him, he spoke to me, I took off of work to take care of paperwork (twice), we spoke, they spoke….three weeks later…yesterday…she emailed me to advise that The Boy’s enrollment contract was going out in the mail that day. Today, the business manager emailed to advise that they were going to offer him a partial scholarship and that the offer would come by mail.

I tell my kids, the older ones, that when you want something you make it happen.  Whatever it takes….MAKE IT HAPPEN.

And my mother’s response…”well, you know what they say:

If you see me in the lion’s den, root for the lion!”

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