Ian’s transformation occurred just a week or two before his junior year began. He noted that school was going to be hard, stressful and overwhelming, and he appeared to be bracing himself for the challenges to come. I’ve faced many moments in life with this approach: Tell yourself something is going to be absolutely awful so that there’s a chance it will be better than you expect.
super surprising terrific to see Ian approaching his year with a
great deal of focus and hard work. Honestly, I’m not exaggerating when I say
that he’s more than doubled the amount of time he’s spending on school work each
night. It’s as if he just sailed through the past 10 years with little to no
effort, and someone (other than his parents, of course) told him this is the
year to get your act together. Whatever
it was that spurred him on, I’m happy to see the change.
Unfortunately, I’m unhappy at how unprepared I am for Ian’s junior year. I thought I knew what I was doing, and lo and behold I’m actually falling behind. Last week’s back-to-school night threw me into a tizzy.
Let’s talk about back-to-school night, shall we? I’m starting to think it causes post-traumatic stress flashbacks. In my case, to the mid-to-late 80s. The insecurities, fears, concerns and need to compete are the same, only I weigh 20 pounds more and have to color my hair every 6
months weeks to cover the gray. Here are just a few examples of my neuroses
what I’ve gone through each year at this time:
- When Ian was a freshman, I felt overwhelmed and
insignificant among the other parents who all seemed
so much more grown up than meto know what was going on. As I’ve gotten olderIan has advanced, I've become more comfortable, and now I like to look down upon the lowly freshmen parents and laugh at their angst.
- I worry about my hair, my breakouts and my clothing. Am I out of style? Are my jeans too tight? Do I have enough cover-up on that zit? Do I look younger or older than the other moms?
- I bemoan the fact that I can no longer take part in the extracurriculars, or even some of the interesting classes our kids get to take these days. I wonder “Would I make the Silvertones?” “Would I get a solo?” “What about the school musical? Would I have a speaking part?” “Would I make it past the first round in the speech & debate competition?” “Could I get into a great college?” And it occurs to me that if I had had the opportunity to take AP Psychology in high school, that creepy college professor could never have hit on me because I wouldn't have taken his class.
This is why my finger nails look like a dog’s chew toy.
So other kids’ parents have taken them to visit colleges by now. Some already have taken the SAT and the subject SAT and the ACT and the prep courses. Some are talking to admissions counselors to make sure Susie and Bobby are on track for acceptance to their preferred Ivy. How is it I've fallen so far behind??? What if Ian doesn't get into Yale or Princeton and he has to go Swarthmore or Haverford instead? What if he has to actually use mom’s benefits and go to Villanova? What will I tell my friends if Ian doesn't live up to
their my expectations his potential? The peer pressure is
What’s most important is that Ian doesn't
get a sense of my hysteria. That he remains calm, cool and collected with his
nose to the grindstone, taking one day at a time as I've been wisely advising
him to do.
He can leave the advanced freaking out to me.