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:

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6 responses

  1. I’ve had quite the lesson in being powerless lately (in regards to parenting). Definitely one of the hardest life lessons I’ve ever experienced and it makes me nervous for the future. I can’t imagine the feelings you are going through during the college admissions process.

    Good luck to both of you!

  2. Oh, my heart is breaking for you. I am vicariously re-living all of these emotions through you. I tried to chronicle the journey to send off my first born to college, and was so grateful to have you holiding my hand, so to speak, through it all (and still are). I hope I can do the same for you. Hang in there, it only gets worse before it gets better.
    Here’s the link to all my stupid and sappy posts. Remember? http://www.mamarazziknowsbest.com/blog/RoadtoCollegeSeries

  3. Our oldest is in the 9th grade, she;s a month away from her 15th birthday. Until this year, she’s was an A student. She had made two Bs in her life. 9th grade Algebra and AP Biology have kicked her pretty little blonde ponytail. I have watched her struggle, cry, struggle some more, and cry some more. I have seen her come home from school, white knuckled, wailing, “my teacher hates me so much!” I have wanted to go to the school beat them into pulps, thinking, “don;’t you know how awesome my kid is?”. Yeah, I have turned into one of those parents. One of those I despised when I was a teenager. Tay (short for Taylor) takes his first semester finals tomorrow. I helped her study yetserday and will do so tonight. Regardless of her standing after them, I think she;s amazing. She will likely end her first semester a B or B+ student, yet I have never been more proud of her.

    • I am sure she is amazing.

      Being a daddy’s girl myself, I can tell you with 100% certainty that the fact that you think she’s amazing and are proud of her matters much more in the long run than any grade ever will. The beneficial effects of your support and encouragement will last her a lifetime.

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