I have over 200 blogs in my reader and yesterday there were three posts. All day. This morning there were five. I guess the summer doldrums are already here.
My husband and I had a fight last night. One of our old ones. It wasn’t even a very thoughtful rehashing of the topic. I struggle with the idea of living forever in the city. It’s harder than I thought it would be. It seems increasingly impossible that I will ever develop any real sense of community here. My husband would be miserable in a monochromatic suburban wasteland. I am honestly starting to wonder if it’s better to be surrounded by diversity but ultimately alone, barely participating in it, or to just give up and feel at home with a bunch of people who look and talk like me (and have about the same amounts in their bank accounts). The progressive, liberal part of me (and it’s a BIG part) wants to slap the woman who would rather run away from the hard to a place where she feels like she truly belongs. The part of me that is actually living the experience of being one of the only white, English speaking people on her block, and sending her daughter to a school where she is one of the only white kids in her grade, wants to scream that it’s hard, and there is a reason so few other people are doing it.
It’s not hard for my husband because he loves living here. Being in the city provides him with all sorts of opportunities that he appreciates, even if he’s not able to take advantage of all (or even most) of them right now. He doesn’t crave community, in fact he’s happy to avoid it. And he is more removed from the challenges of raising kids in an urban area, because I handle a lot of the day-to-day logistics. While he attends most special events at my daughter’s Title 1 school, he’s never there for drop off or pick up or during the regular school day. He doesn’t see how rough the older kids are with each other on the playground. He does see that the line for the general education (as opposed to Spanish immersion) Kindergarten class usually only has 5-7 kids standing in it, even though there are 20 kids in that class. He doesn’t read all the articles about how schools with high percentages of lower income students (our daughter’s school is 92% free or reduced lunch), NEVER perform as well as schools attended primarily by upper socio-economic families.
I haven’t written much about my thoughts and feelings regarding my daughter’s school, mostly because COMPLICATED, but I think about it A LOT. Every day I drop my daughter off at one school and drive 30 minutes away to teach at an arguably “better” school. Obviously, we decided that it was best for our daughter to send her to the school in the city, and I still believe in the reasons we did so, but they are more abstract and harder to quantify. When there is so much written about the failings of inner city schools, it’s easy to wonder if we made the right choice.
I really hope I write more on this here, because I have a lot to work through and process. In the meantime, I need to get to work.