Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thick Envelopes

They got in!

My kids got into our first choice school. Both of them.

Woo fucking hoo!

I am seriously having a hard time taking it all in. I can't remember ever being this happy or proud.

On Saturday, my husband and I were on different flights home from Hawaii. So when I got home, I picked up our car and had about an hour to kill before his flight came in. I drove right home to check our mailbox.

As I was pulling out mounds of mail, I spotted big envelopes from all three of the schools we applied to. But there were thin ones too. I had to take two trips to bring all the mail in and my heart was pumping.

I sat down on my sofa, got comfortable and started going through the envelopes one by one.

Here's a little background information (and then I swear I will never ever talk about schools again.)

When we were moving here, School A was our first choice. It is an academy whose reputation stretched all the way to the Southwest. When my son and I first visited it, I called my husband and said, "This is where I want them to go to school. This is where I wish I went to school." Not only were the facilities unbelievable, but I really liked the academic atmosphere. They were very well-behaved kids very busy learning. Their commitment to the arts is unparalleled. They have the best average SAT scores at 1260 and the most impressive college acceptances. (They are also the most expensive school in this region.) They seemed like the best fit for our family. And we ended up buying a house that is only two minutes away from School A's campus.

School B is the school we ended up going to. The very first day we visited, I just They are the free-spirited school. They are the beach school. They are the sports school. They are the school who just did-away with their lower school computer lab. They are the school without the violin program or any lower school drama program. I was optimistic about the kids going there when it was the only school they both got into, but my first impressions were right. As is well-documented on this blog, I wasn't impressed.

School C is Misty's alma mater. We applied there last April on her recommendation. It's a great school. It is a lot more like our old school than School B. But they were already full for the next year and wait-listed us. The only thing that I didn't like about that school is that the lower school is on a separate campus from the upper school. Both campuses are pretty convenient to home but one of the benefits of sending my kids to private school is always having them in the same place. Plus, they love going to school together.

School D was the one we didn't apply to last year. It seemed too small (it is REALLY small) and too far away. But when I realized that it was only a block away from our violin studio (and we were so unhappy at School B) I decided to check it out. It is a wonderful school. I love their math program and their math enrichment teacher. They have a really great mentoring program and a true family atmosphere. They have a school dog, for goodness sake!

Now, let's break it all down.

School A: We decided to apply there every single year until we moved just to see what would happen. Getting in there is nearly impossible. They never have openings between 2nd and 5th grade and they have 20 to 30 kids applying in each grade for those non-existent spots. They open up another class in 6th grade and we were hoping to get my daughter one of those spots in 2010-2011. This is where we want our kids to go to high school.

School B: We decided to give our current school a chance and attended a transition sales pitch. While this school is a sure thing from now to twelfth grade, the tour and presentation we had that day just cemented to us that we were making the right decision to leave.

School C: Just like last year, they told us right off the bat that with 22 kids per class, their first grade is over-full. But they asked us to please apply anyway, because you never know and they thought our family was a good match for their school. Plus. it was my daughter who really needed a new school the most anyway.

School D: Same situation. Honestly, I think they loved us, but with 22 kids in their first grade, they were beyond full. But the admissions director assured me that strange things sometimes happen over the summer and asked us to apply. And again, this school was a great fit for my daughter.

Now, the envelopes please.

The first one was from School D. My daughter was accepted! Oh. Thank. God. I was so relieved. No matter what else happened in the rest of those envelopes, I knew I'd have my daughter back to her real self. I stood up and danced a little.

Next, my son was wait-listed at School D. With assurances that we shouldn't give up hope. I really think they liked him a lot.

Next, was School A. The envelope was thick. My heart was pounding. And my daughter got in! She did what I thought was impossible. But there was another thick envelope from them somewhere.

And my son got in too! They both got into School A! What the hell are the odds? I have never been so happy or proud in my entire life.

I jumped up and down. I whooped and hollered and danced. I laughed like a nut.

But there were more envelopes.

My daughter also got into School C! She got into every school she applied to. These are not safety schools that you just walk into. These are schools with high standards. And she got into every single one.

But my son was wait-listed there too.

So our decision was easy. Or so one would think. The school I'd been dreaming about wants them. Both of them. I have to admit I spent one sleepless night wondering if we should send my son to School A and my daughter to School D. But we would really only be choosing School D because it was so small she'd feel safer there, and I don't want to limit her the way I limited myself. Besides, School D doesn't have a high school and we'd only be trying to get her into School A later anyhow.

My husband told me I was obsessive and nuts.

We told the kids on Monday. My daughter looked a little stricken when we told her she made it into all three schools but it was only because she was afraid of having to make the choice. But we told them that it was a choice we were responsible for. And we choose School A.

We took them out with Grandma last night to celebrate.

They are so proud of themselves. As they should be. They worked so hard to prepare for the entrance exams. They were so charming and polite in their interviews. They try so hard at everything they do.

They are also relieved and ecstatic that they are going to school together at least until they gradate from high school or we move. Whichever comes first. They are so sweet together and love each other so much. Seeing each other at school is always the highlight of their day.

I feel so much lighter than I've felt in...I don't know...years! I never felt like I got my feet under me after my husband's Iraq deployment. Now I can't stop laughing, dancing or even crying in joy.

They got in.

I am so proud.

And I promise. No more school talk. Until college.

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