I lost my wife in May 2015. She was born with a congenital brain defect known as an AVM. Over the course of about 9 years she had 7 procedures in an attempt to stabilize the problem. Ultimately it was not to be and she left this world almost 2 years ago. It is a pain unlike any I have ever known and will probably never know again. It was devastating. The hardest part, and most difficult thing I will ever do in my life, was sitting my then 4 year old daughter down and trying to explain to her that her mother would never be coming home. It still hurts my heart just typing the words.
While the whole story is something I will save for another day, there is part of it I wanted to share tonight. H- passed away two days before Mother’s Day. At the time Fifi had been waitlisted at what I would consider to be the best charter school in our metro area. That particular school has a June 1st birthday requirement for each school year. My daughter’s is in July. A different charter school had openings (actually it didn’t but I had friends who were able to do amazing things to help me) for kindergarten that required an August birthday. I got Fifi enrolled and she began kindergarten.
I was concerned for a lot of reasons when she started school. She had lost her mother only a few months before. She was very young for her class. We both had a lot of emotional pain we were dealing with and it showed by her attendance record the first half of the year. I think she had 14 absences before Christmas Break (not winter break mind you). Ultimately, we mostly righted the ship and she finished out the school year and had her kindergarten graduation. She is very bright and academically school was never an issue. It was the emotional baggage she struggled with.
Fast-forward to August of 2016. Fifi started 1st grade at her same school. I had bought all of her uniforms (embroidered and non-returnable) and class was under way. She was about to start her third week when I got an email from the school she was wait-listed on from the previous year. They had an opening for her but it required an answer within an hour. It was for a seat in their kindergarten class starting in 3 days. At the time I truly didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what the best decision was. Should I make her redo kindergarten with the long term benefit being a spot in the best charter school in our area? Not to mention it is a K-12 program, not just elementary. Once she got in she would be in through high school.
I didn’t have time to think it through. I prayed on it. I asked for guidance. That was really all I could do. I know a lot of people say they pray on things as a cliche. I actually did. I closed the door to my office and I laid my head on the desk and asked God to show me the way. Eventually I picked up the phone and called the admissions officer and told her we would take the seat.
I pulled Fifi out of school about an hour later so we could go home and pick up all of the documents needed to enroll her at the new school in the new district. It was Monday. Her new school started class on Wednesday. After buying a second set of uniforms and a second set of school supplies we were ready to go Wednesday morning. Normally, I would have had a meeting with her teacher beforehand to let her know the situation with Fifi’s mom. I just didn’t have time and had to wait until the following week to meet with her. At this point I was riddled with doubt and second guessing myself. Did I make the right situation? Was this what was best for my daughter? I truthfully wasn’t sure.
The following week came and I met with her teacher. It is still hard for me to talk about H-. Particularly when it is in reference to Fifi. As I was telling her teacher our situation she began to get teary and choked up. It is hard enough for me to tell people what happened and even more so when they get emotional about it. I was sort of at the end of my story and fumbling for the words to wrap it up. Her new teacher sort of took a deep breath and began to share her story with me. Her mother passed away when she was 4. She went on to tell me that the class assistant teacher had also lost her mom when she was 4 or 5. She looked me in the eye and told me, “We’ve got this.” If I wasn’t crying before I surely was then. Every bit of apprehension and doubt was immediately erased. My daughter was exactly where she was suppose to be.
To me, there is no other explanation than it was the work of God. What is the likelihood that I pull my daughter out of one school to enroll her at another only to find out that BOTH of her teachers lost their mothers at the same age that Sophie did? That isn’t luck and if you think it is you are a fool. God blessed us with a situation that was perfect and ideal for my daughter in a way that only He can.
Fifi is now half-way through her second year of kindergarten. She is happy and thriving and loves her teachers. She is in the school that I had hoped for and being a year older is probably the best thing in the world for her given what she has been through. While we have been through and continue to deal with hard things, we are so very blessed. God does amazing things. Pax vobiscum.