I remember one of the first things my doctor told me when I had Lucy thirteen years ago: that whole birth plan thing? It’s a nice idea, but when the baby is ready to come out, she will. Her time, her way, regardless of any plans you might have. And that pretty much sums up parenthood in a nutshell.
Sure, you can make up all the plans you want, but the key point is being able to go with the flow. That was a sentiment that came up a few weeks ago when I was talking to James’ teacher at the parent/teacher conference back in October. Karina was showing us a picture of the kids doing an activity that was supposed to be one thing, but the kids took it in a whole other direction – and it was that much better for it.
And that pretty much sums up yesterday morning in a nutshell.
As some of you may remember from my emails, yesterday morning was the kick off to our Town Hall Meeting series. We’d envisioned a series of conversations between parents and the founders, families and Pine Village administrative staff. It would be a way for us to get to know each other on a more individual level, a give and take of sorts. The series was planned to start off with a breakfast morning during which we’d introduce the staff, say a little bit about ourselves and then do a Q&A to talk about whatever parents wanted. It didn’t quite happen that way.
The building was locked when we got there, so Pine Village co-founder Emma Lougheed and I (Jen Doyle, yours truly) ended up chatting outside for a few minutes with mom Annabella as we waited for the cavalry to arrive with the key. Not quite how we’d planned to greet our first Town Hall Meeting taker. With her boys playing outside in the yard, however, and our respective bags sitting on the ground, we stood there and got to know each other a little bit better.
So, um, no. Not at all what we’d planned. That conversation was definitely supposed to take place in a much warmer location (sorry, Annabella)! But in a way it was exactly the way it should have been in the first place. Not quite so planned and with no script to follow. Just a few moms talking in the schoolyard while the kids played.
Given that it’s actually beginning to feel like winter, however, I can’t say I’m sorry that we got into the building a few minutes later. And there, as co-founder Brid Martin and her husband/PVP Facilities Manager Ray arrived – as well as Education Director Jacie Feinberg and PVP Newton Director Kelly Cisneros – we set out the coffee and bagels, took off our coats and settled in.
Which brings me back to the plan. We were supposed to move into the meeting room off the kitchen, a lovely sitting room with couches and paneling and a gorgeous, richly woven rug. That was where the intros and the Q&A were supposed to take place. But instead what happened was that, as with any good gathering, we ended up staying in the kitchen. And rather than a structured Q&A, it ended up being more of a drop-in coffee hour, with parents coming in and out – some able to stay and chat over a cup of coffee, others just able to say a quick hello. To be honest? It was a hundred times better than what we’d planned.
We chatted about the possibility of opening up another location in the outer burbs (Acton – here we come! Um, some day, maybe…) We chatted about Saturday Spanish classes and after school programs. We chatted about school choice, preparation for kindergarten, Scholastic book orders, and how to get the word out about Pine Village. (Yelp reviews, everyone! We are very thankful for whatever kind words you are willing to share with the world-at-large!) And, I am happy to say, we ended up connecting. (Annabella, Larisa, Emily, Quyen, and Natalie – I will most certainly be in touch again soon!)
On the one hand, the conversations we had did reinforce our commitment to the Town Hall Meetings in the spring. And, yes, those will be a bit more structured than this one as they will be topic-based. But, on the other hand, we also ended up loving this morning’s gathering so much that we’re going to do it at all the schools. So stay tuned – drop-off, drop-in coffee hours are coming soon to a location near you!
And, yeah. About that birth plan. Our launching of the Town Hall Meetings series wasn’t quite exactly what we’d planned, but the end result was so much better. We can’t wait to connect with more of you soon.