Jay and I both were fortunate enough to attend Catholic school growing up, and I believe it shaped us in some way to who we are today. We were married in a Catholic church and are raising our girls as Catholics. I won't sit here and act like we are in a church pew every week or we are super religious, because we don't go to church as often as we should and we definitely could live a holier life. But now that our kids can sit still for more than 20 minutes and actually enjoy going to church, I have my fingers crossed that church will become the norm for us.
Aside from learning about God and values, I loved going to Catholic school because it was like an extended family. If I got a call from a friend to spend the night, my parents knew who their parents were, and you almost always knew every other kid's birthday, middle name, and siblings. That closeness continued through high school, where I graduated with most of the same kids who I started kindergarten with. Jay was the same way - the best man at our wedding was in his first grade class.
Today, a boy I started in kindergarten and graduated from high school with was buried after a fight with cancer. And as I read his obituary, I knew instantly when I saw his middle initial that the "F" stood for Floyd. I could picture him looking devilish in our first communion picture and I remembered what his house looked like. Even though it's been a decade since I've seen or talked to him, you can't erase 13 years of knowing every detail. To me, that is a huge part of a small school family.
Addison is in her second year of Catholic school and next year Sami will start kindergarten there. I love knowing the principal by first name. The principal knows my parents by sight and asks how my dad is doing. I know almost every parent in Addi's class, and I know every kid's name. More importantly, Addison has a love of God that is deep and wholehearted and our family is more involved in our parish than we'd be if she wasn't in school there. We pray as a family before meals and it isn't awkward or forced, and for the first time in my life when I tell someone that our family will pray for them, I don't feel like a phony. We really DO pray for them.
So, even though we could send our kids to public school for free and our city has one of the best school districts in the state, we feel like our little school is worth every penny. And for that, and for a closer relationship with God, I'm extremely grateful.