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  • Writer's pictureSandy J. Green


Messy toddler feeding himself with a spoon

We recently made the decision to switch Avi’s daycare for next fall. When Avi started at his current daycare center (I won’t name it here, although some of you know it) the intention was that he would eventually switch to our synagogue preschool of Beth El. Like many synagogue preschools, Beth El starts full-time care at 2 years old, so this coming fall would be the earliest that Avi could start.

There are several reasons why Jared and I were interested in Beth El’s preschool. One was the rave reviews we heard from other community members. The other big one is the simple fact that Beth El is our community. It’s the community we hope to be a part of for many years and we like the idea that Avi’s preschool friends could be the same friends that he’s Bar Mitzvahed with or even graduate high school with. It also gives Jared and me another entry point for engagement in the synagogue. Sending Avi to Bet El is, in some ways, an investment in our future with this community.

I’ve come to learn that every daycare and preschool will have its pros and cons. Our current situation is far from perfect, but Avi has had a wonderful time there. Drop off is a breeze, he loves his teachers and classmates, and he’s flourished developmentally. And so, as the time came when we needed to make a decision about next year, I started to get anxious. All of our reasons for switching to Beth El were about the future, but what about Avi’s life right now? Is it be fair to force a transition on him when he’s so happy? 2 years old seems like such a sensitive time in his life - would I be doing him a disservice by taking him out of a place where he feels so safe and secure?

I felt a bit paralyzed. We toured Beth El and we talked to other parents. We weighed the pros and cons, but I couldn’t make a decision. The early-bird deadlines passed and we were being pressed for answers, but I still couldn’t do it.

Thankfully, I have a partner, and I gave executive decision making authority to Jared. Whatever he decided, I would go along with. And as you know from the beginning of this blog, we decided to make the switch. The day after Jared made the decision, I enrolled Avi in Beth El and let his current daycare know that we would be leaving at the end of the summer. And while I did feel like the decision making burden had been lifted, my subconscious continues to work overtime, because this was around when the dreams began.

It’s never the exact same dream, but it’s always the same theme. I bring Avi to Beth El for the first day and something goes wrong. The teachers aren’t giving him any attention, he’s put in the wrong class, or he simply doesn’t have anyone to play with. Each dream ends the same way - with me in tears, unable to leave Avi, and fearing that I’ve made the wrong choice.

My little Avi is a social butterfly. He loves people, he’s fearless and he’s a bit of a wild-child. He’s resilient. I know that these dreams are about my hang-ups, not his. I don’t do well with change and the unknown. I’m not good at managing my own discomfort. And while the transition may be tough for Avi at the beginning, I know that at the end of the day, he’ll be ok. And I know that nothing is permanent. If for some reason Beth El is not the right preschool for us, we can switch. Logically, I know this, but it hasn’t stopped the dreams.

I have a quote hanging in my office that my eyes keep turning to as I write this,

'Oh what a power is motherhood’

by Euripides, the Greek playwright.

Sometimes the weight of having to make every single life decision for another human-being is unbearable. It’s an impossible responsibility and power, and yet, it’s what parenthood is all about. I joke that the defining characteristic of adulthood is the ability to eat candy whenever I feel like it. Being an adult is all about the freedom and burden of choice. And when we become parents, we take that on for another person. I know that I’ll do a lot of things right and I know that I’ll do a lot of things wrong. I might not even know which is which for many years, but I’m sure one day Avi will tell me.

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