About this time last year, I was making the preschool rounds.
Brochures and open houses and visits and applications and, of course, application fees.
Application fees. Anywhere from $25 to $100, forked over for the chance. The chance to get our name added to a waitlist. The chance to, maybe, if we’re lucky, enroll our daughter in preschool.
We live in one of those areas where enrollments are high and waitlists are long. Daycare and preschool administrators know this.
So they welcomed us with smiles to each open house. Shared with us the amazing ways children blossom at their school. Accepted, gladly, our application fees.
And then, they told us that they’d be unlikely to accept her for the following fall. Their class was filled. Or they had already met their quota for young threes. Or girls. Or… well I’m afraid to think of what other quotas they had met that kept our girl out.
But what can you do? So I nervously walked around to each school. Fingers crossed. Praying for small waitlists. Praying that I had arrived early enough. Wracking my brain for a plan B. Considering abandoning the preschool search altogether and, instead, trying to get a jump start on the kindergarten search. Surely being three years early for that would ensure me something?
In the end, we got our girl into a great school. A school that I love. She really has blossomed there. If I’d had the option, I would have chosen the school we’re at. I didn’t have the option, but all worked out for the best.
However, my daughter is still on the waitlist at those other schools. The admissions directors ‘kindly’ keep your child’s name on the list year after year. Because, you know, if she doesn’t get in this year, maybe next year! Or maybe mid-year! People move, plans change, you never know!
So now it is enrollment time again. And all of those schools are emailing and calling. “Your daughter is on our waitlist.” “Call us back if you’d like to remain on the list.” “If your plans have changed, please let us know that too.”
They strongly request that we let them know if we no longer wish to remain on the list. They urge and set deadlines and send multiple emails, leave multiple voicemails.
And I don’t call them back.
I understand their position. I know what it’s like. Waiting for an answer. Needing to know. Needing the answer, even if it is no, just for the closure. I get it.
But I don’t call them back.
It is bitter and silly. Petty. Not the example I really want to set for my children. Not the way I want to be or act towards others.
It is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Their deadline comes and goes and they remove us from the list. I’m one of so many, I’m sure, to not reply to those check-ins.
It is ridiculous. But, in some very small way, it feels like retribution.