This is the fourth time this school year I’ve had to write to the headmistress at my daughter’s school. One of the rules is that if your child is going to be away from school for more than three days, you need to put it in writing to the headmistress. I like doing this, because within a week, I receive a personal message, typed by the headmistress and sent to my home by snail mail, telling me she received my e-mail. (It’s a nice reprieve from the other snail mail – bills!) But it’s a total waste of money too in the sense that she could just e-mail me back and forget about the cost of postage, envelop and letter (is this where my daughter’s $30K a year for schooling goes to?)
I need to write another one, because, yes, I’m being proactive this year, when it comes to Mother’s Day. I’ve planned a mother-daughter ONLY trip for five days. My daughter will be missing four days of school, since I want to spend a week with her. It’s MOTHER week in my household!
She can’t wait to go to Bahamas and be alone with me. It’s going to be a fucking great Mother’s Day Week. For both me and my daughter.
Ever since she started school, I have not let loving life get in the way of her studies. When she was in preschool up until Grade Three, the school she was at didn’t seem to care at all that my daughter would miss days of school either to go on a trip with me or visit with her father in Arizona or Aspen (both of which are far from home, so she needed to take the days off). At her old school, people would take their kids out sometimes for a month to go to Miami in the winter. One friend took her children to Italy for FOUR MONTHS.
I usually just feel in my gut that it’s time for some mother-daughter bonding and I’ll book us a trip in a land far away so it can really be just my daughter and me (and sun, sand and beach). I’ve always been a firm believer that school is important, but so are other life experiences. Of course, it’s hard to argue that heading to The Cove at Atlantis in the Bahamas is a life experience, unless, one day, water slides are going to be in the Olympics.
Still, I’m taking my daughter out of Grade Four to come with me.
Yes, it is Mother’s Day, but I picked a place my daughter would enjoy more than me. She loves it there. Does anything say more “mother” than that?
I will ask the teacher for homework she will be missing and I will force (actually, I don’t have to force her) my daughter to do all the homework on the plane ride down, so when we arrive we can just…be.
I’ve watched my daughter, turning 10 in October, grow leaps and bounds this year. Ever since I had her, I’ve heard the warnings from parents like, “children are just for rent,” meaning that they will only want you around so much as they get older. I’ve watched my daughter become super independent this year, and I can feel it. The “it” being that she is definitely growing up and time is just ticking away too quickly before she gets her license and will soon (hopefully) go to college.
So, yes, I selfishly want to be with her as much as I can. The school has my daughter seven and-a-half hours a day, five days a week. Then she has her extra-curricular activities and sleepovers. I like thinking that quality time over quantity of time matters and it does (for all of you who feel guilty about working.)
However, my “quality” time with my daughter for the last few months has just been at night, when she’s exhausted. And now with a second child, it’s been hard for me to juggle spending as much time with her as I used to.
It’s definitely TIME for Mommy-Daughter Time.
I know, already, that if she misses a day of school, and they have math on that day, she will fall behind. I’ve already told her, “You miss one thing in math and you’re screwed for the rest of your life!”
It is sort of true, or at least that’s what happened to me.
I was sick for a week in junior high school and I could never catch up with math. Still, I have no problem taking her out of school for “Mommy and Me” time. Sometimes, I’ll just drop by her school and say it’s “Ditch Day” and we’ll go out for a late lunch and movie.
Is this selfish of me? I think so, in a way.
But then I see my daughter’s delighted face when I pick her up or tell her that we’re going on a Mother-Daughter ONLY trip, and whatever concerns I had about taking her out of school disappear. (Wait…what were my concerns?)
I think family is super important and that while she’s interested in travelling with me, she’ll also get to see a side of mom that she doesn’t often see (me going down water slides with her! Wheee!). I’ll get to see a side of her that isn’t just her face running in and out of school and activities.
I keep wondering, though, at what age does this have to stop? Does it ever? I think not.
I have been honest with the headmistress about other times my daughter has missed days of school (I have to share her vacation time with her father, so we always add on a few extra days). So I can’t wait to write, “I really believe that my daughter, and I, are due for some mother-daughter bonding time.”
It’s the truth. And so that’s what I’ll write. And if she needs a math tutor when she gets back to help her catch up, so be it. But I feel no guilt about her missing school.
I ask my daughter what she does every day at school and all I hear about are tales of recess social problems. So, really, does it matter if I take her out of Grade Four for a week just to chillax? Or Grade Five or Six? Because I keep on planning to, until the day comes, which it will, when she says, “I'd rather stay with my friends.”
(photo: Natchapon L. / Shutterstock)