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: