This is where our short saga of school choice ends but of course it hasn’t ended. This is where the bus stops, but it hasn’t really stopped. This is America, where we are each equally endowed with the audacity to keep going – to build a country and then rebuild it again. This is the conclusion to my essay from “The Maternal is Political”, which is available for personal inscription and indelible gratitude (for coming out on a lonely Saturday night) right here.
The night my husband and I made our school choice, it wasn’t even a choice. We looked at the letters from the fine private schools inviting our daughter inside. We knew their curriculum was excellent, but it no longer seemed good enough. We knew what they offered was valuable, but it no longer seemed worth it. Still smarting from our disillusionment with our own government, we resolved to live, really live, the values that were no longer so self-evident. We would save our money and invest our daughter in democracy. The bus, after all, was hers.
We would need to be attentive and involved, but we would be doing that no matter where she went to school. We would need to enrich her education with extras, but this way, we still had enough in every paycheck to afford them. We would need to trust people of all stripes and believe in the ability of each person to reach the stars.
We would need to be brave, but we could: We were born in the home of the brave.
On the first day of kindergarten, my daughter’s teacher stood before an array of beautiful faces. She spoke loudly to reach the pack of teary parents spectating at the back of the room.
“Our job is to create citizens,” she declared, and turned to face the flag.
That morning, I placed my hand over my heart and spoke the old pledge with newfound allegiance. The school for citizens had created one more.
* * *
Drive far, come early, sit close and laugh often.
And if not, at least listen to me tell you again why motherhood is your writing practice.