Sarah is registered for kindergarten. I thought this day would be more, I don't know, more something. On some level, I appreciated the total lack of emotion exhibited by the school district employees. As you may recall if you are one of my three loyal blog followers, I like our preschool director very much because she loves the kids and tolerates the parents. But we have been looking forward to this day since our children were born and...
Here's What I Imagined Would Happen: After a short wait, I would turn in my carefully photocopied paperwork. A district employee would gratefully take it from me and compliment my organizational skills. This person would say "You have raised a human being for five years! That is wonderful!" This person would validate my decision to send my child to our neighborhood school and not try for one of the magnet schools. She would ask to see a picture of my daughter and tell me how sweet she is. She would remind me that we're starting an amazing journey together and public school would be fantastic and would prepare my child for a bright future. This is the beauty of a free, public education. The whole process would take about 15 minutes, leaving ample time for my friend Beth and I to go out for coffee.
Here is What Actually Happened: After a long, long, long wait, I turned in my carefully photocopied paperwork, including a registration form that looked similar to something you might have to complete when being released from prison. The person who took it checked it, looking exhausted. She eyed me suspiciously when I said "Thanks so much!" After that first line, we were given a bakery-style number and told to take a seat and fill out some more paperwork. One of my good friends had forgotten to bring her child's birth certificate and was given a piece of paper which implied, among other things, that she is a terrible mother. When they called one of the numbers, a district employee actually checked that number to make sure this person was not trying to sneak in ahead of the other moms. (She needn't have worried because at this point the other moms would have stoned any line jumpers to death like Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery") When my number was called, I raced to the first of the three "stations" which was manned by a person who everyone described as crabby. I was happy to find that she actually did appreciate it when I said "Thanks so much" and asked briefly about my child. I suspect she did this to make the line move even more slowly, but it was nice anyway. The lady in change of health forms must have been totally worn out because almost nobody had these forms ready yet and she had to explain the same things over and over and over. I asked it I should drop the forms off when I had them and she cheerfully handed me three envelopes and said "Or, you could MAIL them!" (Implying "If you are stupid enough to want to come back to this hellish district office, go ahead, but it seems to me you might want to cough up for a stamp and avoid this little nightmare.") The person working the last station had the best job, She was in charge of collecting the fees . According to my careful calculations, this was .03% of the amount we paid for preschool. Sweet!
2 hours after we started, we were on our way!
And the public school journey begins.