Today I'm wading into the murky waters and discussions that surround choosing your child's Primary school.
A month before applications open and I have already come to realise that the school Lily will go to is less of a choice and more of a lottery. I can rank the schools in my local area in order of preference but I do not, in anyway get to 'choose' where Lily will receive her early years education.
It's a hard fact to swallow.
I work at a school. I work at the school that I would choose for Lily if I could but it is a Church of England school with strict admission criteria. It's a good size where everyone seems to know everyone else, the majority of people are friendly and the teachers genuinely care about the children in their charge. I love that they have such close ties to the church, have weekly worship with the clergy and a prayer group that meets to pray specifically for the school.
Before I started working there I would have assumed that as a family of practicing Christians, Lily would naturally be offered a space. Our faith is important to us, we worship regularly at a local church, we take part in events, volunteer for kid's church, creche and mowing the lawns.
But it turns out that it's not that simple.
Despite us attending a C of E church for the last five years, and other local churches before that, our church isn't within the 'Benefice' and so we fall into category 6 of 8.
It's frustrating but fair in that everyone is judged by the same criteria. I get that.
And yet it put's us in the awkward situation of deciding what to do next. Because if we changed churches now, it would move us up to category 2. Lily would be almost guaranteed a space.
A tempting proposition. I'm sure we wouldn't be the first to do it, we're certainly not the first to consider it. The 'new' church option has a friendly reputation, they're active in the community and have great facilities for children.
We could also change to another church within the benefice. If it isn't C of E then it would only bump us into category 5 but that's still a better chance.
It just doesn't feel right.
We love our church, the friends we've made, the way they worship, pray and encourage. Not all churches are the same and it took us a while to find one where we could grow as a family. To leave feels like a betrayal.
I wouldn't want to lie, I'm really bad at it anyway. It's OK saying that we could go back to our old church after Lily's place is confirmed but I wonder if I'd feel like a teenager who had stayed out all night, creeping back in the early hours.
But. If we leave it to chance, to fate, to faith (whatever your opinion will be) then Lily *probably* won't get into the school we want. Logistically, it could be too much of a challenge to balance the childcare and may result in me leaving my job.
It could be the end of the world...
OK. So I'm exaggerating but it's those type of thoughts that currently keep me up all night. Praying.
Praying for the wisdom in making the right choices, perseverance in keeping faith, for peace in trusting that everything will work out according to plan. It's frustrating to know that I don't really have a choice but comforting in that the choice is entirely in God's hands and I trust that if I put my faith foremost, the rest will follow.