We know it’s only temporary, but for this tiny slice of time, we’re in a different sphere, in Hashem’s embrace.
Just for now I can sleep.
Just for now I can smile. At my children, at my neighbors, at the mirror.
Just for now I can rest in the knowledge that Hashem has taken us under His Wing and has given us an answer.
It’s been a whirlwind six months. Six months of torture. Six months of feeling every negative feeling a parent can feel.
My daughter isn’t good enough. My daughter isn’t smart enough. My daughter isn’t enough, not enough, not enough. We’re not enough.
Ha. As if she’s not smart enough. She’s smart enough to have been able to hide her learning disability for eight years of elementary school. From her teachers, her parents, her friends. To overcompensate and pull marks in the 80s. Smart enough to be able to run a cookie business every summer, selling custom-designed and professionally decorated cookies.
Smart enough to know that no one wanted to accept her into their elitist high schools.
No, we didn’t apply to the Harvard and Yale equivalents of high schools. We know our daughter is a regular, average, good Bais Yaakov girl, sweet, respectful, tzniyusdig… not at the top of the class, not at the bottom; not the goody-goody but not the chutzpenyak; the typical girl whose favorite part of the day is recess. We applied to three schools and had no doubt she’d get into one.
Until she didn’t. See, we didn’t know about this particular learning issue — no one did. Until the interviews and entrance exams. Then it suddenly surfaced.
Three interviews. Three principals. Three exact same reactions. Who in the world are you sending to us? This girl can’t make it in our high school. Look elsewhere.
We cried. We pleaded. We begged the teachers to vouch for our daughter. We begged the schools to allow her to take another interview. We put her into immediate special tutoring several times a week to get her to the level she needed to begin ninth grade.
“Great,” the schools told us. “Get her up to par, and we’ll be happy to accept her in tenth grade.”
But who would take her now?
By the end of August, we were at our wits’ end. School was beginning in one week, and our daughter had nowhere to go.
“She’s only 14!” I sobbed to my husband, “Now I see, kids don’t leave the system — they’re pushed out of the system!”
“And I understand them,” our rav admitted.
And then suddenly, like a ray of light, we saw a silver lining. A new high school, not far from where we live, was looking for great girls from good homes, girls who do what they’re supposed to be doing.
“If you’re getting her help, we’re here to work together,” they told us. “Let’s do this!”
And suddenly, she was in a high school. That morning we were at the edge of the cliff of despair, and by nightfall, our daughter was in a high school. Admittedly, with none of her friends. With no one from our neighborhood. Stepping into the unknown. But in a school. That wanted her. They wanted her!
We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We have no idea what the year will bring. We have no idea if this is the answer. We have no idea if she’ll remain there for all four years, or if she’ll want to switch next year — or even if she’ll be ready to make that switch.
But you know what? It doesn’t really matter.
Because for now… just for now… her world is okay.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 663)