It’s no secret that I hated school. I hated everything about it. The schedule, the homework, the socializing with classmates. Especially the socializing with classmates. So, it was no surprise, when Xavier started school, that I had no interest in playing the “mommy game.” I avoided the drop off and pick up, the hanging outside of school, the gathering at Starbucks once the kids were gone. I was too busy for the bake sales, showed up just as school performances were starting and ran out just as they ended, and was always working during meetings or mixer events. I avoided volunteering and planning and socializing with the moms who could make the time for these endeavors.
And then, I became a mom who could make the time for these endeavors. When I left my job, Xavier changed schools mid-year and I was desperate to make sure that his transition went as smoothly as possible. I knew, from experience, that the best way to help my kids fit in was to meet the parents, and try to fit in myself. I needed to figure out how this new school worked, what I needed to know, who made the decisions. So, I found myself, on a wednesday night, when I’d much rather be throwing back a beer on my couch, sitting on little chairs in the science classroom attending my first PTO meeting.
I met good people that night, I learned important things, I let people know that we were a family that was here for the long haul. And, I got involved. For one of the first times in my academic career, I joined in. It was awkward. It was uncomfortable. As welcoming as the new school was, it was hard to not know anything and anyone; to not fit in. But, I kept at it. I volunteered, I showed up, I helped out.
I like to think that we got lucky. That we got placed at a school with an active group of parents, who worked together, who were committed, and who loved their school. That, what we’ve found at Xavier’s school, is unique and special, and something to be appreciated.
The parents at RCIS are an amazing group of people. Five years ago, the school was scheduled to close because of budget cuts, but the parents banded together to convince the school department to keep our little school open. One of the oldest schools in Boston, just a little single-stream K-5 on a little one-way street in Dorchester. But this school has soul, and fortitude, and grit. When we needed a new playground, the parents fought with the school department and applied for grants and entered contests. Last year, their effort paid off with a commitment from the school department, a grant from the NFL, and a visit from the Patriots. We have a new older-kid playground, a beautiful mural, and beautiful garden beds in the front of the school. All because of the effort of this amazing group of parents.
I’m proud to say that I’m a part of these efforts now. I’m the Class Mom and I bake for Teacher Appreciation Days and I’m (somehow) the Chair for this year’s fundraiser. I love giving back to this amazing little school. I love my new friends on the playground. I love sharing with them the highs and lows of parenting. I love watching their children grow and mature. I love fighting with them for what is right for our children and our community. And, I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next.