08 January 2018

Inflexible

Our lives have been shifted dramatically in the new year. I began on January 1 with a day of physical labor -- cleaning and preparing our house for a house sitter as we have moved 1200 miles away for a sabbatical season. We will be gone for six months, and I was packing and sorting and putting away -- laundry, scrubbing, vacuuming, washing, panicking. I haven't worked so hard in a long time.

Then we left the next morning, and my legs and entire body felt the ache of the previous day's efforts. We drove two long, hard days in the bitter cold. It was about 20 degrees when we left Baton Rouge and it got progressively colder as we traveled north. Only today has the temp gone above freezing, almost a week later. (Incidentally the weather has been fine and clear throughout, and it's going to get snowy later this week ... not sure how we'll fare driving in that, but time will tell and we'll be extra careful/stay in mostly.)

My biggest concern hasn't been the packing or even the effort of cleaning -- it was today, taking Jane to a new school for the first time, leaving her in the care of new people, people I'd never met, and in a building with no one I know. (Her school at home has a great church friend as a 5th grade teacher and other children we know, plus I'd been able to meet her teachers and see the classroom first.)

When we got to the school, however, we were told she couldn't start today and would have to wait until tomorrow at the earliest. In the end this is a better thing for everyone. It will give the teacher some time to prepare (not much but some), and it was one more day of winter break for our girls.

But we've known we'll be here, living in this apartment, for months. Why it couldn't have been done in advance I don't know. We had to go through a district placement office, and apparently that MUST be done in person, which Shawn was able to do Thursday, the day after we arrived.

I did not react well in the school office when they rebuffed us. The guy looked at us like we were crazy (which I agree, it's a crazy proposition, but it's what the placement office had led us to believe would happen, so we had prepared Jane). She was SO mad. It was awful and uncomfortable, while we sat in the room and Shawn filled out even more (duplicative) paperwork. Jane felt inflexible, and I felt the same.

After some time to process it, and an impromptu discussion with the principal who asked about Jane as a person and student to help her decide which of the two classes she might fit into best, I felt better and thought it would be fine to wait a day (or longer). Jane has already been in Kindergarten for 70+ days, and she'll have many more left because this school system started a month or more later than back home, meaning Jane will continue another month of school long after her Kindergarten friends back home will be on vacation (meaning her summer 2018 break is going to be a month shorter!).

But I'm embarrassed by how frustrated I became and how that frustration and aggravation were visibly apparent to everyone. I hate how Jane reacted, and I didn't handle her disappointment well since I was poorly managing my own irritation and disappointment.

I have to learn to be more flexible, but I'm not sure how. I am having plenty of opportunities to practice (and fail)!

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