This week is going to be about reflection and memories, because I’m in that sort of mood.
My daughter has been in the NYC Public School system since she entered Pre-K at age 3. I remember meeting many great parents that year, and we sort of formed our own little family. Around November of PreK, a new family moved into our class. I had no idea that this Mom and this little girl would become the rock of our ride through elementary school.
Last Friday I had breakfast with the Mom. We have had breakfast on the last day of school for the past fourteen years. We’ve been together through three schools. I would not have survived being a school Mom without this woman.
In Manhattan there are zoned schools for elementary, which most people attend. Middle school and High School are fairly open game. While you have the option of attending your zoned middle school, many people apply to other schools. Yes, in NYC fifth graders are applying to public schools. Standardized test grades count. Everything counts.
Our Daughters both got rejected by the Middle School they wanted. Fifth grade girls demoralized because they didn’t interview well. Yes- there’s transparency- I know exactly where my kid missed points. Shy doesn’t work well when applying to middle school… So S and I relied on one another to get us through the difficult road of bucking up our kids self esteem. When I didn’t know how to parent my kid through this, I had S to use as a sounding board. I had S to cry with. Without her, I would not have been able to get through this daunting time, nor have the energy to get my daughter through it.
And besides this particular time, S has always been there for me. We had very similar parenting strategies, so I had a safe space to explore ideas and theories and figure out how to help my child navigate puberty and friendship and high school and the whole college thing.
There was also the fun stuff. Going to school auctions. Sitting with each other at recitals, including the fourth grade recorder concert. Yeah- “Smoke on the Water” on recorder. Good times. Volunteering at Middle School events. Texting each other in meetings when someone said something particularly stupid. Cheering each other’s kids on when they did good, which was pretty often.
Today is my Thank You to S for being the best possible friend these past fourteen years. When I saw her at the coffee shop I started to tear up- I looked at her and said “This is the last last day.” I hugged her. I thought about telling my Daughter’s college that she won’t be attending and figuring out how my Daughter could transfer to the other school. I mean, how can I get my daughter through college without this Mom? What if I don’t like the other Mom’s? Who am I going to gossip with? Who am I going to laugh with? Who am I going to cry with?
Tomorrow night we will snap pictures of our daughters as they go off to their last school dance. Friday we will be passing one another tissues as we watch our daughters flip their tassels. It will be one more picture of them at a major milestone. To go with fourteen years of pictures at major milestones.
I tip my metaphorical cap to my friend S- the mother of the best friend my daughter has, and the best friend that I could ever have.