One of the deepest teachings given by Buddha is that you should not be too sure of your perceptions. You have to practice looking deeply in order not to be fooled by your perceptions… Even if you are sure, check again.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Spring has officially arrived. See crocuses above, viewed on my daily jog. And we made our decision about pre-school. We are going with School B. On Saturday morning, while Skyping my parents, Lila told them, “I liked the school with the birdseed and the big big toys. NOT the other school.” And she proceeded to try to pronounce the name of the Big Philosophy from which School A takes its name. Even though Tom was advocating for School B, he was gracious enough to assure me that we shouldn’t be basing our decision solely on what Lila wanted. After all, she wants honey for dinner and would like to play outdoors in the snow wearing only her pajama top. But I took her predilection to heart. I can see that she was really comfortable in School B’s space. There was a lot more playing going on there, a lot more free play and a lot more imaginative play, both of which she lives for these days. The tightness in my heart loosened a lot over the course of the day as Tom and I walked and talked it out, weighing the different merits of each place. On Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep. I lay in bed thinking about my overwhelmingly physical reaction to both schools and how I would be a hypocrite to encourage people to go with their gut and then ignore my own. But again, that voice reminded me: “What about Lila’s gut.”
And in that moment, I felt completely clear. School B was our school. Maybe not forever, but the next right step was to accept School B and try it for nine months. We could always change after that.
In terms of community, we couldn’t have gone wrong: both schools are full of kids and parents that we know and love. Both schools have teachers we think are excellent. Both schools are widely viewed as wonderful.
I went back to School B today to check in with my body to see if it had been unduly influenced by the stomach flu. This time, I did not have the negative sensory reaction that I had on Friday. It helped that the Chipmunk soundtrack was absent. Today, perhaps because it was Monday, the place was much tidier and spacious. My eyes caught sight of walls full of artwork of all kinds, and collages of photos of happy smiling kids. I recognized even more children we know and got to talk a bit with the teacher who will be Lila’s next fall. The head of the school showed me the art room which included bins full of costumes for imaginative play, and I had a glimpse of the future: my three-year-old dressed up in butterfly wings, dancing around the community playroom, waving her magic wand and transforming everything in her path, including her mother.