May 28, 2015

The Real Parents of Long Island

May has been a beautiful but hectic month. The usual daily stressors are ever-present (work, bills, a temper tantrum, too many loads of laundry and too few hours in the evening) and some new ones have cropped up. The thought of moving to an entirely new place, starting an entirely new life has been discussed. But the fear of leaving holds us back. I love our home, our friends, but the pressures I see for Tucker as he enters school and the crazy expectations that engulf the youngsters on the North Shore of Long Island are sickening. Bravo has a new show shot in the town abutting ours, with women who frequent the same exercise classes, schools and shops as us, and has made me really examine what we are doing. I have read reviews of a new book written by an insider on the insanity of parenting on the Upper East Side, some parts all too close to home (parents hiring therapists to train toddlers on the art of having a play date). A show about our life would be filled with mundane commutes to work, the same dinner every night for our son (Annie's mac and cheese), cleaning, negotiating bed time, and then wine. Lots of wine. No one would watch.

All I want for my child is happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment. When his teacher raves about his sweet nature, social skills and book smarts I am thrilled. Then she tells me that despite this, he doesn't pick up and hold his pencil the correct way unless prompted, or follow 4 step directions independently, and perhaps he should repeat nursery school before moving on to pre-K. I am stunned, and at this point, I can actually laugh. But alas, this is what parents in the area want- brilliant 3 year olds ready to tackle Harvard upon graduation from preschool. And so I come to work every day to pay for said preschool, unsure of the path to take, I examine every sentence my son speaks for clues on what the right choice is for us, where to go next month, next year. My husband works hard (with vision in only 1 eye), building a law practice in a town overrun with lawyers to help fill the income gap inherent in living where we do, as fairly normal parents who had their first child before turning 30. With a few good friends that help ground me and remind me we are not alone in our exhausting marathon, we will see what the future holds. I know it can always, always be worse and there is much to be happy and ecstatic about on a daily basis. More of that, less of the rest.

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