My child’s first label

I’ve been urged to look into the public school’s Pre-K program for Nathaniel.  It’s free.  It has bus service and Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be.  Now kids pretty much need to know their numbers and alphabet and be ready to start reading.  Kindergarten is a full day program unlike that half day when I was a kid!  My son also turns into a total silly, goofy child whenever myself or my sitter tries to work with him on just about everything educationally related.

So, he’s the type who really needs a structured Pre-K and he listens and focuses when working with somebody that he’s not as familiar with.

I’ve been looking online and asking some people about the programs that they have taken their kids to.  I try to avoid getting sticker shock and panicking about how I’m going to afford it.  John was the major breadwinner and the loss of his income to put it shortly is a big stress.

Anyway, our public school system offers a Pre-K program at no charge and it is based on children who come from an “economically disadvantaged background” and “as space allows, we may enroll a child who exhibits a lack of readiness in early learning or social development.”  I’ve been urged by several people to consider looking into the program.  Perusing the application, I knew that my income was above their threshold, but decided to call anyway.

The lady I spoke to was very nice and although I was over the the economic threshold the fact that John is deceased and my child lives in a single parent household “puts you at a level 3 on a scale of 4” and your home school “did accept some level 3s last year, so I certainly would apply.”

I probably should be happy that my child may get a spot and if so I won’t have to pay.  But instead I was heartbroken that because of my husband’s death and my singleness– I’m now a liability to my child… and my child now has a label (from somebody who has never seen or met my child- although she did hear him squawking to talk on the phone) because statistically he’s at a greater risk of falling through the cracks according to the state of Maryland.  The same state of Maryland who fails to recognize and honor most firefighter cancer deaths, including melanoma which is more prevalent in firefighters.

I know lots of kids from single parent households and who have lost parents go on to become successful adults- which I fully intend for my son to become.  Growing up in this day and age are tough enough!  But, the facts are out there and it is harder to parent as one, it’s harder to discipline, grief makes life harder, and often children who have lost parents have issues with grief which further complicate life.

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About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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