I Lied To My Child About Back To School For A Good Reason

Today may have been a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t? But it certainly felt wrong at the time. But maybe it ended up okay after all?? I’m second guessing the crap out of my parenting choices these days.

We’re keeping our youngest home from school this fall. We were rock solid in our decision. But now I’m not as sure. Our daughter should be entering her first year of high school in a Community Pathways Program (aka Spec Ed/Lifeskills) this year. We’re keeping her home for obvious reasons—health risks, what about masks, social distancing is difficult for her, I’m home anyway, blah blah etc. 

This cohort of grade nines who will be Avery’s classmates for the next seven years seem friendly and funny and full of spunk and personality. These kids are destined to become Avery’s “people” and it breaks my heart that we’re keeping her from them. Of course, that’s my heart speaking. My brain knows her place is safe at home. And when the time is right, she’ll go to school and it’ll be perfect. 

A few weeks back Avery was invited to attend a virtual tour of her new high school. We declined. I mean, why rub salt in the wound?

Then we were invited to attend a virtual orientation with the other students in her program. This we decided to do. I thought it would be the students in her remote learning class. Um, no. Every grade nine in today’s meeting is starting “real school” (as Avery refers to it) tomorrow. They’re packing lunches and checking their bus schedules. While my child’s education will continue remotely for the foreseeable future. What a bummer (her words once again). 

Avery knows her high school experience has been pushed back. We were in a peaceful place of resignation. Until she heard other kids were headed to school without her. 

The meeting itself was wonderful. Avery was excited to be there. She recognized a familiar friend and earmarked a several others who she told me after would be lovely new friends. 

Students introduced themselves and played ice breaker games. My social butterfly leaned forward on her chair, peering into the screen to get a better look at the new faces she’s been looking forward to meeting for so long. 

Then a student asked about his bus schedule and if he should bring a lunch tomorrow? She immediately whipped her head around and locked her eyes on me.

“Bus?! What BUS? Tomorrow?! He’s bringing a lunch! Kids going to real school?” She jumped up from the computer and gleefully proclaimed, “I’m going to school too!”

She was overjoyed, so I panicked and I told a lie. I said the boy made a mistake. I threw him under the bus and said he was confused. I told her he was talking about his future bus schedule and about a future lunch. For when school does start. Eventually. 

Seems I’ve been fibbing since 2011 

Of course she believed me. Why wouldn’t she? I mean, what kind of mother lies to their innocent child?

Uh, THIS kind of mother. The kind of mom that can’t stand to see her child disappointed and distraught. 

With that little untruth, she’s content once again. She’s even excited about learning at home and connecting with new school friends when virtual school starts on Monday. 

And what if she asks why none of the kids she met yesterday are among the virtual faces in her digital classroom?

Of course I have a lie prepared.

“There are two remote classes. They must be in the other one.” I’ll say convincingly.

I’ll probably feel guilty for lying again. But only for a minute, because pandemic parents gotta do, what pandemic parents gotta do. 🤷‍♀️

At least this way, I won’t drip tears all over her sandwich like I did on her first day of Kindergarten.

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