As a Parent

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

September 8, 2011


Levi's school had ponies visit! Levi didn't want to sit on the pony, but he did get his photo taken as a cowboy.

I find myself very nervous for Levi today. This isn’t the first time, and I know it won’t be the last. Today, though, is the first time I made the connection about what a parent feels for their children and the paths they have to take.

I have worried when Levi goes to the playground. I have worried when he meets new friends. I have worried over travel. I have worried when doing things like grocery shopping. Each new adventure we meet brings another worry. I try to remember what I am remembering about Free Range parenting, the sort of parenting I grew up with. I am trying to remember to build trust to earn trust, mutually, to ensure he can make smart decisions on his own. But, that doesn’t cease the worry, it’s only what I use to temper it.

Tomorrow, is another first. Tomorrow, Levi starts, slowly, a new school. A preschool. A private preschool. A private Catholic preschool.

Currently, Levi does attend a private preschool near where I work. My office is likely moving at the end of the year. That likely means the end of the 20-mile commute, which means the end of the preschool near work. We’ve shopped around for preschools before, so this ritual is familiar to me. I was planning to put Levi on a wait-list and go with the first one that pops up. But, the responsive, private Catholic school (Holy Redeemer) said they had space now. We toured. We liked what we saw. We compared. We really liked what we saw, so we enrolled our son in another new school.

Tomorrow, Levi will have attended three schools. He attended one daycare at 2-years-old for 2 months. He has attended his current school for 13 months. Tomorrow, will mark school number 3.

Granted, circumstance has intervened every time. Jobs ending, jobs and their hours changing, and jobs moving — all circumstances out of our control. But, I can’t help but flash back to my elementary school years. The schools I now recall attending, all by 4th grade:

  • Norway, Michigan – Kindergarten
  • Iron Mountain – Kindergarten
  • Silver Creek Elementary – Kindergarten and First Grade
  • Hillcrest Elementary – 2nd Grade
  • Amberly Elementary – 2nd and 3rd Grade
  • Baldwin Heights Elementary – 4th Grade (Greenville, Michigan)
  • Greenville Middle School
  • Greenville High School

Not until I was in 4th grade did I stay in the same school district. Every new school brought new students, new buddies to tour me around, and new teachers.

I was very, very shy. I hated being uprooted. I hated first days of school and new students I didn’t know. I hated trying to fit in and get to know them. It was torture. Complete and utter torture. I was not gifted at making friends like my siblings, so I am sure my shyness was mistaken for aloofness. I was scared, and kids could smell fear. When kids smell fear, they exploit it.

This is what I remember when we discuss changing Levi’s school. We’re not done changing after this year, either. Next will be the kindergarten discussion: public or private or another private school? Then, in five or so years, we’ll be more seriously discussing and planning for the return to Michigan. This we desire to be our permanent residence. We’ll want something close to family, in a city with jobs, and a city with good schools. We’ll be looking for a house, and making a new life with brand new neighbors, friends, environment.

This current move is out of necessity. Although, they have all been out of necessity, even all the moves I did. I am thankful that Levi has lived in the same house for his whole life. I am thankful he is far more outgoing than my husband and me.

Above all, I hope he can stay with more constants than I did. I hope that my husband and I will learn from our collective pasts. I hope that he adjusts better than we did. But it doesn’t make me stop worrying as a parent.

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