When Cash was leaving for school today he casually asked why several of his friends are the same age, but in a higher grade. Cash is 8 and in the 2nd grade. His birthday is 9.4.09, three days after the enrollment cut-off.
Deron and I struggled with this decision. We totally over analyzed it. We read study after study to try and decide what would be best for this child – what would have the greatest impact on his life. We asked family, friends, educators, people that were the oldest in their class, and people that were the youngest. We obsessed over the decision, like we tend to do with all our decisions. But this was a big one. And at the time it made me think of one of my favorite movies from the 90s: “Sliding Doors.” In the movie Gwyenth Paltrow’s life is shown on two separate paths – one if she had caught a train in time and the other if she missed the train. Her entire life veered onto two paths with a sliding door. It drives home that life isn’t just a series of linked circumstances. Life is the hardest game of Choose Your Own Adventure.
But this decision wasn’t going to be our adventure, it will be Cash’s.
And we did what we thought and still think is best. And then we moved on.
So when I answered him with way too much information, as I tend to do, I could see the wheels turning. From that moment, that out-the-door morning conversation, he will always wonder what could be different if he was just in the higher grade.
Cash is a systems and rules guy. He’s a thinker. He’s all strategy. So I always need him to process information first, form his own opinion, and then bring him to the intangibles. So I can’t yet tell him that no matter what decision Deron and I had made he will always end up being amazing. Because in both life paths, he’s exceptional.
I hate that there is not some definitive guide on how to raise kids. What decisions to make. What the return will be on outlandish investments (hello coding camps!) What to say. What to do. It’s all just sliding doors.
And I have to remind myself to keep trusting myself. Because there really is no time for doubt. If I spend too much time on one door, I’ll have missed the next.
Cash, I hope you know how serious your dad and I took every single decision when it came to both you and Laney. Nothing was ever small to us, because you both are too significant. We spend the majority of our days making decisions that we believe will have the greatest benefit to you both. It’s probably why we are so tired. All the parental decision-making and the fact that you both still crawl in our bed at 4am every morning. 😉