Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Castles in the Sky

posted Thursday April 28th, 2011

Annabelle popped a tooth tonight. Her tenth. Per tradition, she wrote her tooth fairy a note, folding it carefully and putting it (and some shredded cheese) next to the pillow holding her tooth.

I love reading those notes. Tonight’s was short, but I think it will always be my favorite.

“Do you like my cursive?” Annabelle wanted to know. And how was the cheese? When did the tooth fairy lose her 10th tooth? And just what does she do with those teeth? Does she like to dance?

And there was a bit of news among the questions.

“I got into [CHARTER SCHOOL NAME]!” she wrote.

My heart soared.

This morning I literally stood on the steps of a castle and got the news that Annabelle was accepted into this charter school, our dream school. OK, my dream school. Ray’s dream school, my mom’s dream school. Not Annabelle’s dream school. Not yet, anyway.

This will sound corny, but it was a day of dreams (small ones, anyway) come true.

If you live in Phoenix, and particularly if you grew up here, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’ve always dreamed about poking my head inside Tovrea Castle, the wedding cake of a once-falling-apart historic building perched on a hill near the middle of the city.  Particularly at night, it looks like it’s hung from the sky. Today I got my tour. Turns out, all I would have had to do was ask, years ago. Who knew?

Not so with that charter school. We’ve had tours and math exams and ballet auditions, paperwork to fill out, lottery numbers to try to make sense of and finally, a lot of waiting. I’d been checking my email constantly for a month, hoping for news from the school, and I stepped out of the castle this morning into the sunshine and held up my phone and there it was, the email announcing that Annabelle had made it in.

My eyes teared up in the sunshine. Look, I won’t pretend it’s like “Waiting for Superman” or anything — Annabelle is the kind of kid who would likely be fine wherever she lands. But this school is 5-12, with as little of the high school bullshit as possible and huge doses of dance and music along with terrific academics. I was hesitant about ditching public education, but this place was hard to resist — particularly with rumors floating around that our home middle school might be closing.

So we applied, despite Annabelle’s nerves. For months I’ve been prohibited from even uttering the school’s name in her presence, so tonight when she and Ray came in the door (he had broken the news), I wasn’t surprised to get a “NO!” before I’d even finished asking the question, “Can I say anything about next year?”

OK, OK. I gave her a hug and we ate dinner, did homework, read books, watched some TV and she wrote her note to the tooth fairy.

I sat up late, working on my laptop, waiting til everyone was definitely asleep (Sophie is as interested in Annabelle’s tooth as Annabelle is — she left her some cheese, too!) then carefully picked up Annabelle’s letter and crept into the kitchen to read it.

Maybe this school is Annabelle’s dream, too, and she’s just about to know it. I wrote the tooth fairy’s reply (the cheese was great, I was 9 3/4 when I lost my 10th tooth, I’m not a very good dancer but I love to watch you) and tucked it in the envelope with the obligatory silver dollars and pink glitter –and a big smile on my face.

I was licking the envelope when my phone beeped a text with some news.

Tonight, the school board voted to close our home middle school.

Did you enjoy this article?
Share the love
Get updates!
Tags: Filed under: charter school, public school by Amysilverman

10 Responses to “Castles in the Sky”

  1. Congratulations! So happy for you guys – a string of good luck lately!

  2. oh, congratulations! that’s awesome news. It sounds like a phenomenal school.

    the middle school closing…what will happen? that sucks.

  3. So glad to hear she got in! She will love it there, maybe not right at first because it will be different but she will. And you will too, maybe not right at first because it will be different but you will. And, technically, I always point out that it is still “public,” just charter. I know, I sound like the charter school advocates in the early days. Oh, and your tooth fairy is so much cooler than the one who comes to our neighborhood.

  4. Such a sweet post, I am tearing up and I don’t even know Annabelle. I love your blog, and love hearing about you and Ray and the kids. xo

  5. Wow. Lots of full, fun, rewarding days for you all lately. I’m, of course, very pleased when good things happen to folks of whom I’ve become fond.

  6. Hooray on the school Amy!! That is great news! I hope that with a little time Annabelle will come to love it there and make lots of friends.

    As for her tooth fairy questions, when I was asked what the TF does with all the teeth, my on the fly answer was this:
    She turns them into stars. All those tiny white dots you see in the night sky were once teeth. Better keep yours clean so they sparkle as stars.

    The kids totally bought it!

  7. Oh my gosh, I loved this post.

    And it is a gem of a family story, no? Lots of maternal love and affection demonstrated in this story. Might be handy to have on the bookshelf when Annabelle is a teenager. Just a thought …

  8. noan: i’ll put it in the scrapbook!

    heather: that is perfect. i’m stealing it.

    cate: i have no idea. i guess there goes the concept of the neighborhood school — in our ‘hood, anyway. so sad, and worse to know i’m an active part of it — how terrible that there’s a huge waiting list for this charter school and not enough kids to go to the schools within walking distance from our houses? ugh.

    and the (my) biggest ugh — figuring this all out for sophie. very soon.

  9. I’m so happy for Annabelle. That must have been nerve-wracking. Good to know she’ll be happy and safe through 12th grade! Speaking from the trenches (and having made a poor decision) I think it’s great to get her somewhere without the craziness.

    So what about Tovrea??? What was it like?

  10. Hooray! So happy for you guys.

Leave a Reply

My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


All content ©Amy Silverman | Site design & integration by New Amsterdam Consulting