I didn’t do the four year college thing just out of high school, when I did go to college it was junior college for my nursing degree; then at the tender age of 29 I dabbed my toe in a four year school for a couple of years. So I’m a little lost and confounded by this process of getting a kid into college. I went through some of the hoops as a kid. Like the good sheep that I was, I sat for the SAT’s when I was a junior but I don’t even remember the process of signing up. I certainly remember the test because it was about sixty miles from home and I was this gawky girl from Bumfu#% Bedroomville Texas in a gigantic room with beautiful blondes–turned out in Ralph Lauren everything–from Highland Park. They were all so extremely SOPHISTICATED and obviously RICH, that I couldn’t concentrate on the exam. Quick Texas history lesson: Highland Park is a small incorporated city within Dallas. But it’s a mighty roaring mouse and has the largest concentration of wealth in the great state. Ross Perot and Mary Kay Ashe lived there. And if you don’t go to SMU, Rice or Baylor it’s because you’re going to Brown, Dartmouth, or Yale. Anyhow, some time during the summer before senior year, I applied at one school and they accepted me, so that’s where I went to school. Boom! Done! Alas, our relationship was brief and fleeting before I dropped out. (but not as short as my first marriage…ba-dump bump)
Anyhow, to say I’ve been dreading spring semester of Beav’s junior year is an UNDERSTATEMENT and it isn’t because I just can’t bear the idea of my little darling growing up and moving away from Mommy. Oh Hell to the nine-millionth power of no! I’ll probably show up at Beav’s graduation next spring with a suitcase in one hand and my passport in the other, anxious to make that night flight to Somewhere Else. Much like sitting for the SAT with the Beautiful and the Damned of Dallas Texas; I’m completely lost and intimidated by this whole “getting in” process. I know people who have hired coaches to help their kids’ with admission essays. (they have to write essays now, whoa…) One on one college interview coaching, resume planning, and review classes. I feel deafened by the helicopter propellers whirling around me as my maternal peers give this whole Professional Mommy thing one last gasp of forced attention; a final stab at having a kid who is completely and utterly spoon fed on how great they are until they have pathological entitlement issues.
But despite my misgivings I jumped on this college bound band wagon, made an appointment with the post graduate counselor at the high school, gathered my questions, and swallowed my pride. And despite my snide remarks, meeting with her was informative and a pleasure. Number one, I could really relate to her. Which is unusual for me in my sons’ extremely conservative, mostly white, upper middle class, heterocentric high school. Secondly, She made me feel very comfortable in my ignorance and showed me how to navigate a couple of websites to help Beav choose schools and me put together the financial aid puzzle. But then something happened. The Stepford Knolls part of my brain kicked in and I asked the following questions:
“What does Beav need to do to get into ——–? *We* were looking at this school but now He has a B in trig! I don’t think it’s going to happen for him. What do you think?” You would have thought he had failed freshman language arts four times in five years with the dramatic spin I put on the question.
But the words kept spilling out of my mutated brain:
“Should we hire someone to help him with his admissions essay?” Oh my God the Mutant OverFunctioning Parent that lives deep in my heart was taking over. Next thing you know I would make him go to summer school to get a few more credits to pad his GPA just in case!!!
I think she saw the mutants take over my brain. The cleansing breath she took telegraphed how much she had hoped I wasn’t one of “those” moms. Her momentary pause helped me gather my senses and served as a quiet reminder his GPA is great and the only way he was going to get into this particular school was if he had a 4.5 and was in the top 5% of his class. But the instant before my real brain kicked back in I must confess I tossed around the idea of a new career on the street turning tricks for meth. His experience as a foster child would certainly ratchet up his human interest story on his “resume”. Because what a plucky kid! Having a disaster for a mother, and still able to make A’s in pre calculus and chemistry! Luckily, I’m extremely vain and like my face pustule free and my teeth firmly in my head.
I came home from my meeting, pleased Beav has such an approachable and affible counselor who is genuinely interested in his success. But I also found myself lurking around his room nagging him about registering for the SAT’s…did he take practice exams…what did he think of the University of Saint Louis…North Dakota–good value, great program in his chosen major…maybe Mommy needs to get her own life…
Fortunately, I stopped before I admonished him for not taking honors classes this year or next because the voice I started hearing wasn’t mine but a creepy stage mother from a 1940′s burlesque drama. The type who flits around and then hovers near the edge of the stage as her badgered and miserable child prepares to sing or tap dance or juggle:
“Play to the back of the house, baby! To the back of the house!”
Plucky kid, maybe I’ll take June 2nd off so I can drive him to the test and wait for him in the parking lot…