Let me be the first to welcome you and your child to four years of HELL. If your kid is planning on going to college, little Cathy or Bobby had better get their asses in gear and start feeding starving African children, cure cancer or discover how to make a car run on mouse turds. Of course, all that is in addition to being ranked #1 in some fucking sport, or if your kid isn’t athletic, he’d better by god find something that sounds like a sport to be numero uno in like midget wrestling or making balloon animals.
If your kid hasn’t been involved in any organized activities before freshman year, tell them to sign up for any and every damn thing that looks interesting. This year is supposed to be one that the college adcoms can see as a year of “exploration.” Of course by this time in a Modern Kids® life, they have already been involved in about fifty thousand activities so you should have some idea. If Bobby has never played any instrument and decides that he is going to play tuba in the band, that’s probably a shitty idea that you should discourage, unless you are some kind of psycho parent. Same thing with varsity sports teams. If Cathy wants to try out for basketball and she is 4’11” and never played any sport that involves a ball that is just a stupid fucking idea. Thankfully this is the year that you really don’t have to worry about shit like AP classes because most schools only offer that stupid AP Human Geography for freshman. Let them take it if the school offers it because it’s a gateway class and not because any college is going to give you credit for it because that ain’t happenin.
Sophomore year is when the adcoms expect you to have found your desired activities and to stick with them. Cathy and Bobby had better start jockeying in their various clubs to set themselves up to be vice president their junior year and president in senior year. Those adcoms LOVE that shit. They’d also better have signed up to take some AP or IB classes or the newest thing to hit the high school academic scene, dual enrollment classes. Colleges get all hot and orgasmic over something called “most rigorous course load.” That sounds like a bad period to me but whatevs, do it anyway. I forgot to mention earlier that your kid had better not get more than one B a year on that ole report card or they are obviously destined to flip burgers at Mickey D’s cuz they sure aren’t going to Harvard.
Junior year is when you start to leave little skid marks in your dainty drawers every time you even hear the word college. PSATs in October are your big damn notice that college is lurking around the corner like Freddy Kruger. In between building playgrounds for disabled children, sports, clubs and studying for classes and SAT/ACT prep, you now have to wreck all of your remaining weekends visiting colleges and doing what the adcoms call “showing interest.” This part of the process drives me batty. WE the parents paying the damn tuition BILLS, are the ones that have to show “interest.” Are you shittin me, mister? Do I go to the car dealership just to show “interest” to give them my money? Hell to the NO. Anyway, just buy some old lady or man shoes and schlep on, my friend.
Senior year comes and SHIT JUST GOT REAL. It’s happening… your kid got their senior pictures taken and you, dear parent, are freaking out. I suggest a trip to your doctor and a prescription for a nice supply of “nerve pills.” The Common App usually goes live for the year on August 1st. The next few months will see you doing nothing other than beating application essays out of your kid. They will stall, then write dumb shit and you will start to despair that they will ever move out of your basement. Your hands will become worn down into tiny nubs from wringing them. Then, miraculously, everything gets submitted and your kid gets his or her first acceptance letter. You are excited until you see the price tag and then the hand wringing starts anew. You start seriously considering listing your husband’s kidney on Craigslist and wonder how much strippers actually make for a lap dance.
Somewhere in all this madness you start to realize that your families life is about to change. You know your kid is ready to set out on a big adventure and you are so proud of them that you could burst. But something keeps you from being totally, blissfully happy. It’s that tiny little voice in your head that tells you the bottom line truth that this 18 year long chapter is almost over. It’s a terrible realization that your family is forever changed because you did your job well and your kid is ready to fly the nest. I won’t tell you it’s easy because it’s not. It’s weird and disjointing. Somehow you get on with building a new life and end up writing blogs or going back to work or school. I can’t tell you how long it takes to build a new normal because I’m in this phase myself.
Good luck to you. This is my last installment of parenting blogs, at least for now. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing them. Check back on Monday for a new, scintillating blog about nothing in particular. Cheers!
Twin A and Twin B at graduation.