The Next Phase

I can’t remember the last time reading something caused me to get a lump in my throat.  Or tears in my eyes.  But that is exactly what happened after I read this post on the New York Times’ college admissions blog, The Choice.  I am a regular reader of The Choice. Have been since my daughter entered high school almost three years ago.   I’ve appreciated being able to gain additional insight into the college admissions process.  A process, that is nothing like the one I went through in the mid 1980s.   Up until this morning I’ve been able to do this dispassionately.   Today that changed.  For the first time, I could really imagine my daughter being in the author’s place.  Going to her computer to open her “electronic” envelope. Thus the lump in my throat.

I recently admitted to a friend that I did not understand the meaning of the word powerless until I became a parent.  At the tender age of 15 months, my daughter fell and broke one of her front teeth.  She had to have extensive dental work done, which meant general anesthesia, and a visit to the children’s hospital.  Freaked me out.   I was floored that something as innocent as a fall on our uneven driveway could result in oral surgery. Hello powerlessness.

It was bad enough realizing that I couldn’t protect my kids from illness and injury.  The first time one of them had their feelings hurt I wanted to maim.  And if I happened to witness the cruelty first hand?  Oh my.  Remember the robot from Lost in Space who used to chant: Crush, kill, destroy!?  That’s who I turned into.   Instantly.  It took everything in my being not to body slam the offending child.  Everything.  In.  My.  Being. Once again, I was powerless.

Now my very loved, extremely precious, first-born is about to embark on the college admissions process.  She has visited a few schools, taken her first stab at standardized testing, and, as I type these words, is in the throes of her first semester final exams. She is working her ass off.  And I desperately want the best for her.  Want her dreams come true.  My wish for my daughter is everything she wishes for herself and more.  It stinks beyond belief that I am powerless to make those wishes and dreams come true.

Good thing I have a year to figure out how I will handle this next phase of parenting.

In the meantime, I guess I can always practice this: