|“Well, we will be very sorry to see you go. You’ll be missed,” she said. “I’ll call Andrea in, she’ll want to see you.”
“Oh… do you have to?” I knew Andrea would try to convince me to stay. But Sandra was insistent. A meeting was set up and later that day I had to again face my team leader and the Area Manager, Andrea, to discuss my decision to leave.
“I hear you’re thinking of leaving us,” Andrea began.
I felt a bit ridiculous as we all sat there in our black power suits around the beautifully polished boardroom table. In such a relatively short space of time, I had grown out of this corporate world where I had always been so comfortable. Now it was holding me back, although I had no idea from what.
“I’m not thinking about it, I have actually made my mind up, I’m afraid,” I replied, somewhat apologetically. My logical mind, even then, was thinking things through. This had all been so hasty. It was as if I had my conscious awareness on one shoulder, reminding me of all the things I was giving up: A great career with a promising outlook – promotion appeared to be a given; a wage I had only dreamed of as a kid out of high school with no savings to my name and trying to find enough for rent; a wide variety of people-contact that never staled; a sense that I was doing something good there and really making a difference.
But on my other shoulder, here was this little presence.
“Just do it”, she coaxed, very simply. “Be strong.” And that’s all she gave me to go on as I made a life altering decision in the presence of my work superiors.
Extract from “Having & Holding Ellanor” – my memoir
I went into a familiar fog on the weekend.
I was struck down with a weird “cold” that turned into nothing more than a cracker of a headache and an achy throat. A sensation that has persisted the entire week. I know enough to know by now that illness and body discomforts, yes, they come and go. But if I want to, I can look deeper into the wisdom that my body is surfacing. The choice is mine. This time, I chose to delve deeper and not just succumb to the common cold without listening to it.
Stabbing throat. What am I afraid to say? What am I stopping myself from expressing?
On Saturday, I was just quietly resting on the couch by the fire. Dozing, dreaming.
On Sunday, I was wandering the grounds of a local school with my little family, getting completely wrapped up in its magic.
By Sunday night, as I was tucking the LGBB into bed she said to me – without terribly much discussion and no definitive decision yet made – “I’m nervous about changing schools but excited.” I left her with a kiss and a “Good night” but was non-committal, there were still things to consider (like… am I ready for the emotional upheaval of taking on a whole new environment… because my mind was still playing catchup).
Then on Monday morning, it became apparent that Lolly was way ahead of us through a sequence of very short, quick events which set in motion the no-turning-back decision to change schools. Much like in the above extract, which occurred on a normal run-of-the-mill work day without so much as an inkling that I might resign when I had woken that morning, it felt beyond my conscious doing yet so easy to put in motion that it was simply… right. And it would all turn out okay.
As we backed out of the driveway, Lolly exclaimed enthusiastically, “I can’t WAIT to start at my new school!” I thought I’d misheard her.
We hadn’t even properly talked the idea through. Her father and I were still weighing up options and the timing of her moving now, although we’d planned to revisit the idea at the end of the year if the option of moving still held sway with Lolly. She adores her teacher (we do, too). Her school is fine, we have grown very loyal very quickly – but this was confirmation that, for her, there was another, better fit. I have had a growing suspicion for some time now that there was, sometime, somewhere out there. She is an ever upbeat, positive child, enthusiastic and encouraging of her peers and their efforts – it is hard even for me sometimes to know if she is truly satisfied because genetically, she’s been given a double dose of the ability to make good from any situation. To ride things out, to just get through and retreat to the safety and warmth of home at the end of a trying day out in the world if it is too hard. I have seen her move through various times of deep dissatisfaction, socially, in the past few years and have always marvelled at her innate sense of “getting through”. It’s like watching a plane on auto pilot. But I have also wondered – and worried – more than once if it is ultimately so good to let a child this young learn to cope and adapt to environments that don’t properly nurture her and round out her unique personality.
When do we step in and suggest something different? Without influencing our child or giving in to them too much? It’s a fine balance sometimes, isn’t it? As it turns out, this time all I had to do was unlock the gate – Lolly has swung it open for herself to discover what is on the other side. All she needed was our blessing, which we’ve given.
Ultimately, she gave the indicator that spurred me into motion. So it’s settled: next term when she goes to school, it will be in a new space. One that, now she roughly has the hang of how “going to school” works, is a decision made by her and supported by us. I had expected to do this sort of thing with/for her when she was deciding on high schools, or perhaps jobs or university courses. Still, this is how we roll as a family. Boundary keeping for a child who knows where she is headed and who heads us there very gently but always with good humour and enthusiasm.
Have you ever moved schools? Have you ever moved your child? How did it go?