After All, It's Just High School


The time has come for us to choose a high school for our dear first born, "Milly", to attend come this fall.

I can't believe she is going to be 14 in less than two months, let alone going into Grade 9! She's still my little girl, after all. Always will be. Heck, I still remember when her tiny little butt fit into the palm of my hand! Pardon me while I wipe a tear...

This jump to high school means so much to her, and to me. Milly is growing up, and so fast. I just want to grab hold of time in my fist and hold on tight, just for a little longer.

Here in Ottawa, your designated school depends on where you live. I suppose that's how it is in most places, but I don't really know. What do I know? Nothing, really. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Rien. Well, I do know a few things. OK, I know a lot of stuff, but not really. Nothing that really means anything. And what does mean something, anyway? What is the meaning behind it all? Why are we here?

Sorry, I got carried away for a moment. Forgot I wasn't back in my Philosophy 101 class discussing existentialism.

Anyway, we have been doing quite a bit of stressing over high schools for Milly. She has been tested and accepted into the "gifted" program, which means she passed a myriad of tests claiming she can figure things out and use her brain well. Just like her mama. :o) So, because of this designation, she more or less has the choice of where she would like to go to high school. There is also the bonus of having been in a French Immersion program since senior kindergarten. Here in the Ottawa area, if you don't know French as well as English by the time you get out into the working world, you're stuck. Students in French Immersion have different boundaries than regular students in the straight English program.

Hence the dilemma.

Milly prefers one school, the one I went to back in caveman days. It was a great school then, and I think it still is. Problem is, I'm not sure it is. I hear different things from different people. Schools change over time, and I've been out of the high school loop for many many many years. Some people say the school is wonderful, others say not so much. What's a mom to do?

So I asked Milly why she wants to go to this school as opposed to any of the others. "I don't know. I just do."

"Is it because Annie wants to go there?" I ask her, knowing that must be the reason. Annie is her best friend, and I know how important social things are to teens (as they are to moms!).

Apparently, Milly didn't care so much anymore whether or not Annie actually ended up going to this school. She "just wanted to go there".

Oh.

But, really, when we think about things in a more general, unemotional, calm way, as most "normal" people most assuredly would, what is the big deal? These schools of ours are all regulated by the same board, the same kinds of schools are pushing out the graduating teachers, and those teachers get hired by the schools to do their job, which is to teach our children and make them better people. How can one school be a "bad" school while another is lauded as "the best"?

Maybe all these truths are really only based on people's opinions? And people's opinions are as varied as the moles on my behind. And they are sometimes based on nothing more than a feeling, or an unfair judgment, or a singular experience. After all, we all really live in our own little worlds of reality, do we not?

I think I will stop worrying so much and just go with the flow. I'll do what I always do when I don't know what to do: go with my gut. My gut never steers me wrong. Especially when it steers me right over to the Lone Star restaurant, where it can get its fill of nachos and enchiladas, and the best daiquiri you'll get anywhere this side of Texas!

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Update on my "Freedom!" weekend:

So, Saturday, I wasn't feeling so well, so I did nothing but sit on the couch in the living room, blog, work on learning Photoshop (I do not give up easily), and drink lots of tea. I also watched some tv, cleaned a few dishes, did a load of laundry (but didn't put it in the dryer!), and walked the dog through the snowy streets. I also did some job hunting (more on that another day). Went to bed while in the middle of Photoshopping the hell outta some photos, "damn"ing all the while under my breath. I thought Mr. Handsome and I would have gone to a movie and maybe dinner, but dinner was out, what with me retching every 10 minutes, and a movie was out of the question as well because Mr. Handsome is so busy with a work project that he barely has time to scratch his butt, never mind wipe it.

So Sunday, I began missing the kiddies, although I knew they were having a blast. But I missed them. So, to celebrate missing them, Mr. Handsome and I went out for breakfast at Denny's and had the best waiter serve us. He looked like he had come straight from the boxing ring, with a unibrow, pock-marked skin, and very large and hairy hands. He certainly didn't look like he should be serving us breakfast. But serve he did, and very well at that!

The food was so-so, although Mr. Handsome enjoyed his omelette. I paid, which I never do (probably because I never have money because I spend it all on hair product and potato chips), as part of my birthday gift to Mr. Handsome. Then, we came home, Mr. Handsome went back to working in the office, and I did some more dishes, lay down, watched about 204 episodes of Mystery Diagnosis (I love that show -- it makes me feel like I'm not alone in my deathly, undiagnosed illnesses, of which I have many), did some more blog surfing, scratched my butt, took my socks off, then put them back on, brushed my hair, cleaned some more dishes, and then beat Mr. Handsome at MarioKart on the Wii about 55 times. HA!

Then, I went to pick up the kiddies from the bus at one of the east end shopping malls, and I was 10 minutes late. What? I was so anxious to see them again that I forgot all about it. I was right, they had a wonderful time, but I could tell immediately (because I am such an amazing and righteous mother) that they were both exhausted, and that Dennis was not feeling well. He had a splitting headache and nausea that made him look grey. Then Milly said she wasn't feeling so great, that she thought she was coming down with something and that maybe she caught it from one of her cabinmates at the camp over the weekend.

Oh, isn't that just wonderful, I thought.

So, instead of fretting over it and having to make yet another strong drink, I decided they can both stay home from school today.

Nice of me, eh?

Actually, the real reason for the decision is so that I can sleep in.

Just kidding. Maybe.




Comments

Shana said…
Having lived one year in the U.S. last year, Marissa spent grade 8 in a U.S. school. We call that a 'learning experience' and it makes her appreciate the Canadian schools so much more. It was different in SO many ways. When we moved back to Canada in the summer, we moved right near the High school she wanted to go to. She made a good choice. She really likes her school. ONe things she has said is that all the kids are nice and very few people get picked on!
Do grae 8 students get to tour high schools in Ottawa like around here? That would be a place to start. And ask the kids who go to the high schools what they think of them. They should give honest answers!
Hope the kidlets feel better!!
My friend Patti lives in Ottawa. Do you know her??
ha just kidding
A. Kichu said…
Choosing the right school can really be a tough job. Anyway have a great week
ChurchPunkMom said…
ah, high school.. i LOVED high school.. i'm NOT looking forward to seeing my kids old enough to go to high school! i can't even imagine it yet.. and it's sneaking up on me! today is my 4th child's 3rd birthday.. yay!

hey, i tagged you for a meme!
♥georgie♥ said…
ahhhh 9th grade...I got one there now and one going there this coming fall....
Milly is beautiful her eyes look green are they?
Jane! said…
I wish you would've let me stay home today, too.
Achoo! Is that convincing enough?
I don't know about Canada,eh, but there is a vast difference in high schools here - size, programs, security, opportunities. Good luck with your choice - SO glad to be through with that.
I think that your daughter knows why she wants to go that particular school but does not want to tell you why, which is ok of course. It is good to have some secrets from your parents. It probably matters less where she goes than who she is. Her experiences will generally be what she makes of them.
Tenakim said…
I just saw you round my blog in the last few days...We have a high schooler next year too and have been visiting different schools. Money is a factor inours and we have chosen the public school that is free and suposed to be good- I'm very nervous!
Mary Moore said…
Thanks, georgie! Milly's eyes are actually a sort of green-brown combo, kind of hazel, kind of not. She is a pretty gorgeous kid, eh? :o)
Mary Moore said…
Private school is totally out of the question for us as well. Not sure if it's different here in Canada than where you are, but our kids have always been in the public system, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Just my 2 cents.
Bon Don said…
Ugh the high school thing is tough, we had to choose as well but it wasn't really that hard for us, because there are really just two schools we would have been ok with and we weren't going to pay $20,000 for two kids a year so needless to say the better public school won!!
~*Jobthingy*~ said…
i am glad you had such a relaxing weekend.

i was french immersion so i did cross boundary to go to G!ebe from the east end. it was about a 45 min commute in good weather/no traffic by bus and i loved it there

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