As I sat in the audience looking up at Little Hart's beaming face on stage Thursday night for her 8th grade graduation, I was overcome with a multitude of emotions. Not only was she transitioning from Middle School to High School - her life had taken a 360 degree turn for the better in three short years at her school.
It was an extremely proud moment when a teacher spotlighting each graduate focused on Little Hart. He said among other things "Little Hart is not afraid to let you know how she feels." Spot on, shared with the audience as a gift that would serve her well, no only in high school, but in her life! Both families shared a laugh and a HUGE cheer! We had made the right decision!
Three years earlier, Raylan and I were not on the best terms with Greta for a variety of reasons. Reasons so important I can't remember exactly what they were. Yet through our limited contact all of us were concerned with Little Hart's current school situation. It was dragging her down rather than celebrating the smart, talented young woman she was. We could see the problem, but couldn't agree on a solution.
A small battle was brewing with the potential to reach a full blown war, at a time when we needed to be on the same page. Little Hart was in a private school that she had attended since kindergarten, same as Elle and Jax. Raylan and I were paying for the school and felt that until we found a better place, not only in our eyes, but in Little Hart's eyes she would see it as a punishment.
Greta wanted her to go to school in her neighborhood that her three other children attended. Raylan and I felt the neighborhood school was not an option. Rather than launch into battle, arguing the finer points about her neighborhood school, Raylan wanted to find an alternative. The right school in all of our minds had the potential to unify us in way that would benefit Little Hart long term.
Raylan asked me to do some research on potential schools. From the get go one stood out to me - like the heavens opening and shining a beam of light on it! Ok - a little over dramatic, but I had a very strong feeling this was the right place.
Raylan extended an olive branch to Greta inviting her to join us on a visit to the school. She accepted. From the minute we walked into the building, to meeting with the principal- it had Little Hart's name written all over it! There was no arguing, no convincing - it just felt right. A situation that had the potential for a huge battle, fizzled away so naturally. As it turns out, that the easy part.
Raylan suggested that Greta and Sal bring Little Hart over to our house that night to break the news. When they walked in the door you could see the panic on Little Hart's face. It must be bad news if the four of us are sitting in the same room together since we barley communicate otherwise. Raylan sensing the panic, blurted it out " We all love you very much! You're are an amazing, intelligent young woman which is why were sending you to a new school next year!" Her face went blank and then the tears started flowing - "I'm not going!" Raylan continues we have all made the decision, you have to trust us that it's the right decision, that we know what were doing.
It would have been so easy for any one of us to cave, give in to her reaction, be the hero during this nightmare. Instead we all held strong. She told us "she hated us" and stormed out. For the six months until she started school she considered it a punishment.
Then came the first day. The school fit her like a glove! She loved the school so much that she couldn't keep up the "this is the worse thing that's ever happened to me." Instead she said "it's ok." We all knew it was a step in the right direction.
Our differences had the potential to overshadow not only the problem, but finding the right solution as well. Instead of getting wrapped up in arguing about one school, we ended up unified on the right school. We had no idea that it would be one of the best collective decisions we would ever make for the benefit of one of our kids. Thursday was not only validation our choice was the right one for Little Hart, but our united front with a risky decision three years ago - gave us all something to celebrate together last week!