So, most of you know that I am in a unique position due to the many, many kids I have. It is surreal to think that next year at this time, I will have a freshman in college and will still be taking Mary to her Preschool P4 class. It is surreal to think I will have a college freshman at all. Everyone always says it, but it is absolutely true.
I feel like I am on the downward slide now. Like I’ve climbed up to the top of the ladder, or rather I’ve watched the kids climb, and will now watch as they all make their way down the other side. Slick and fast into the rest of their lives. Lives that will no longer have me as their center.
Its sort of like “breaking the seal” – once they start, they will stand at the top, take their accolades with a bow and a flurry of graduation caps, and rush over the wall that separates me from them. Childhood from adulthood.
Its cool. I can deal with it. Most of the time, at least. I’m not gonna lie though, stupid “Hey, College Girl” Jif commercials make me cry.
But there isn’t a thing I can do about it except help her get into the best school she can, so she meets the best guy in the world to share her life with. One that sees the amazing things in her I do despite her quiet nature and her preference to sit and read instead of hang out at football games or pep rallies. How do I do that and not take over? Its tough.
I’ve always – always – been the kind of parent who does not do homework for her kids – ask any teacher that we’ve had ever. I monitor, I ask – sometimes I don’t even ask, if I’m being truly honest – and I check up on them. They know I watch their grades, they also know that I don’t micromanage, that I’m a “Big Picture” grade person. I think this gives them freedom without fear that I will ground them for one bad grade. They will not be perfect all the time, I don’t expect it, but I do expect them to have a ready answer for bad trends. Trends – ie, more than 2-3 bad grades in a row. And I absolutely expect them to be an active participant on trying to make it better. Talk to the teacher, go for tutoring, whatever it takes – this is their JOB. Their TOP priority beyond God and our family. They know this and they seem to thrive.
College applications are a little different though. There is a lot of technical information that Lucy may or may not have at her fingertips. Things like social security numbers, dates that dad and I (and grandpa and great grandpa) graduated from UNC, what we all majored in, that sort of thing. Given that Lucy has three AP classes, Honors Latin VIII (did you know they even offered Latin 8?), her Senior Project complete with real work experience and a mentor, working every day after school as swim lesson instructor and just the general insanity that is our daily schedule, I figured I could help her out with the more boring stuff on the college applications. She needed to focus on the campus visits, the essays and the answers to the questions about her and her schooling.
Many schools will take the Common App now which makes life somewhat easier than when I applied for school and had to fill out a paper application for every school I wanted to audition for. (I was a voice performance major and in addition to writing essays and such, had to perform an audition for a panel of professors – you want to talk stress?) This is all done online by going to http://www.commonapp.org, creating an account for the student and then searching through their database of schools. Any school that accepts this application will be on here. You “add” it to your list of schools, and it is relatively easy from there. In addition to the regular questions about your social security number, where you live and what your grades and scores are, they will indicate if there is any other information they want. This is done in the form of “supplements.” Some schools want a second essay (in addition to the ONE you have to write that gets submitted to all the schools – brilliant), some just want to know if you are a legacy to that school and who those people in your family are. (This is where I could help Lucy out with family history at UNC – what took me about 15 minutes would have taken her days.) You pay the fees through this website. You email your teacher/counselor recommendation links through this website.
As stressful as this semester has been thus far, I am choosing to look at it like a series of hurdles that sit before us. I say US because what affects one of us, affects us all in that Lucy’s stress filters down to everyone. It just happens. Plans are made around things that we all have to do. Dad takes her to see Vanderbilt, the rest of us adjust, just as we all adjust to Abby’s new swim schedule or Ben’s Saturday soccer game, or the birthday party that someone got invited to. Its what we as a family do. We’ve got the SAT, the driver’s test (yes, she’s finally getting her license), the early action deadlines, the Senior Project presentation, and … hopefully … acceptance letters. All before Christmas. One thing at a time.
We are all excited about Lucy’s college future, no more so that Forrest and I. And when the time comes that I drive away from the dorm – whichever dorm it is that she ends up in, in whatever state, I promise that I will try very hard not to cry.
But I probably will.
PS – dinner tonight since I have to work in the afternoon, do dryland with my swimmers, and turn around to get Abby home at 7:30 – oh, and did I mention? Forrest has a meeting after work tonight … of course he does. Roasted chicken, broccoli stuffed tomatoes and caesar salad – something for everyone.