Hope is only a little over a week away from completing her time in her summer program. I believe this has been a good experience for her. She seems to be a bit more independent and a little more confident. Her grades are good; though they’ve dipped a little bit with the last couple of tests. It’s likely she will finish with an A in both of her classes.
She seems to thrive in the highly structured environment. She has places to be, things to do. She seems to have embraced the structure and the opportunities to be active and engaged. She seems…healthier, emotionally and physically.
Yeah, I think it’s been a good experience. I look forward to hearing her true thoughts on her experiences when she gets home next week.
Up until this week I was really, seriously thinking about whether it might be best to enroll Hope at this school for the full school year. I see the possibilities for her to be really successful there. Sure, I think academically it would be good for her, but I really think that highly structured, small classes with low student to teacher ratios really works well for her. Her confidence is just higher, and I know its related to being in an environment that helps her be successful. I joked to some colleagues that I would embrace paying the equivalent of a year of private college to send her.
And then I really, really got to thinking: Did I really want to send my daughter away to school?
Well, no. I don’t. I worry about that; I want her to do well and feel good about doing well. I also want stability for her. Being home with me has been the most stability she’s had in years. She’s been able to go to the same school with the same kids for years now, a few of whom she met her first weeks after placement. She’s got her own room, a routine, a mom and a dog who adore her. She has a home, after not having had one for a good chunk of her childhood. She has permanence and that’s got to have a lot of weight in this decision.
This week Hope confided in me that she was torn about her academic future. She sees the opportunities this school offers and what that means for her life. She feels how much people care there and how she doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. She is seeing glimpses of her bright future with this kind of experience under her belt and the kinds of skills she develops while she’s there. That’s just what I wanted for her.
But Hope also sees being somewhere that resembles an institution, that doesn’t intentionally fix her favorite foods or makes a special trip to get Korean ramen at the international grocery. She sees starting over again at a new place which is really triggering for a kid who moved around a lot. She misses getting a hug from mom and seeing my family text stream that includes funny family vignettes and pictures of her and her cousins doing funny things that my sisters and I often trade about our kids. She misses her own bathroom and sometimes just having unstructured time.
She misses home, and I miss her.
And so, here we are, weighing all this stuff against the decision to be made. Oh, and never mind that I’ll probably have to dip into my retirement to send her to school and order a case or two of cat food for my future dinner options.
A couple of weeks ago, I think I would be moving heaven and earth to give her this educational opportunity. Now, I’m thinking that the stability of home utterly blasts the structure of the boarding school. I want her to have this year to continue attaching, emotionally snuggling with me. I know this is so important to both of us.
I would love to recreate the experience for her locally; heck I even wish having her go to this school for the day program was a viable option, but it’s not. It’s just too far at 80 miles one way. So, we’re really in a go or stay quandary.
And so, we’ll talk about it; I want to know what Hope really thinks. I want her to be a part of the decision. I want us to really decide what’s best together.
July 20th, 2018 at 7:22 pm
What about an independent school closer to home? She might be a more competitive candidate with the strong summer experience under her belt. You could even think about having her do two years there in some configuration. Best of both worlds.
This is an awesome post. So happy for both of you.
July 20th, 2018 at 8:07 pm
Thanks!! I considered it, but adding a third option to the mix at this point would probably be disastrous. Too much of an unknown for the kiddo. I could sell a summer program, but not a new school unseen for the year.
July 21st, 2018 at 12:10 pm
wow, that is such a hard choice. fwiw, my gut says she needs to be home with you longer, that I would only do it if she was sure it’s what she wants. If she’s ambivalent I wouldn’t do it. Even if there are real reasons why it could benefit her, and even if it’s what she wants (which I know isn’t that definite so far), it’s an emotionally loaded decision. I could imagine her begging you to let her go, yet still feeling abandoned if you say yes.
Because there are such powerful arguments for each choice, this may be a situation where only Hope can decide which way she wants to steer the next year or so of her life.
July 21st, 2018 at 12:25 pm
This! This is the dilemma. I’m inclined to just have her home, but I also know that it’s so hard for her to step out like this that I don’t want to shut that down. I guess we will see!!
July 21st, 2018 at 2:00 pm
So…is moving an option? Sounds like the day program in such a good school would be a great fit, but boarding really isn’t the best. We looked briefly at boarding but felt the same as you – I’ve only had my kid 4-5 years, I’m not ready to give her up yet!!! And she’s not ready to go yet either. We ended up moving (drastic, I know) because God opened the doors in such a way that we couldn’t not go. The place we are now has more great opportunities that none of us had before, but it has been a transition for sure. But for us, moving ended up being the best option. Prayers as you and Hope discuss what the future holds.
July 21st, 2018 at 3:57 pm
Thanks. If she were younger I might consider a move, but my employment options near the school would frankly wreck my career and or be financially a really bad move, especially adding in tuition. I think having her go back next summer for prep might be our play. We’ll see. Thanks so much. I feel like this dilemma is one of the better ones I’ve wrestled with during these years.
July 23rd, 2018 at 10:49 am
How far away is the school? Could she come home every other weekend for her favorite meals and the love and nurturing she gets at home? This is a tough choice, for sure. But the good news is that there is no “wrong” option…both will be good for Hope, whatever you two choose.
July 25th, 2018 at 5:09 pm
Any chance she could come home and do senior year at her usual school and plan to follow that with a 2nd senior year, during which she applies to college if that is right at the time, at the boarding school? Kind of best of both worlds PLUS further attachment and maturing in supported environments, which she more than deserves! Doesn’t address cost, of course. Very best of luck!!