Not bad for a fat girl

So Many Questions on the Path to College


This business of being a parent to a senior in high school is difficult, and I don’t even have one of those kids who’s involved in a million different activities. He’s not driving, he doesn’t have a job or a girlfriend, and he doesn’t even hang out with his friends outside of school. I’m lucky. I get to actually have him around.

Ok, so it’s not like we bond over hot cocoa and play scrabble, or take long walks around the neighborhood together, but he’s here. Yes, there’s a certain amount of badgering on my part (where’s your retainer? can you please pick up that towel? when are you going to walk the dog?) and a certain amount of grunting on his part, but I know where he is and what he’s doing. What will happen this time next year? Will I be able to handle it? I only have one kid, so it’s not like anyone will step up to fill the void once he heads off to the dorms (but in what state?).

Sure, it’s true that he’s gone quite regularly (as in weekly) to spend time with his father, but somehow that’s different. For one thing I’ve had a couple of years to get used to it. For another, the longest stretch that he’s ever away is four days, every other week. I can handle that. College is a lot longer than four days, and at the end, he’s not supposed to come back. I mean to stay, anyway. At least hopefully not.

In the meantime, there’s this craziness of getting in all the applications. Frankly it’s stressing me out. Not because of the deadlines, either, because I know that if I don’t stay on him it won’t get done. What does that say about college? Following is a list of questions that trouble me. Hopefully other parents who have lived through this nightmare process can talk me off the ledge.

  1. Will he be that freshman who NEVER washes his bedsheets?
  2. Will be brush his teeth?
  3. Will he lose his retainer the first week?
  4. Or will he throw his retainer away?
  5. Or will he be done with the stupid retainer by the time he goes to college?
  6. Will he EVER call me?
  7. Will he EVER pick up the phone when I call him?
  8. Will he make friends?
  9. Will he study enough?
  10. Will he go to his classes?
  11. Will he know enough to not schedule early morning classes?
  12. Will he even have a choice in his schedule as a freshman?
  13. Will there be co-ed bathrooms?
  14. How do I feel about co-ed bathrooms?
  15. How does he feel about co-ed bathrooms?
  16. What will happen if he runs out of toothpaste?toothpaste
  17. Why am I so obsessed with his teeth?
  18. Why is he so nonchalant about his teeth?
  19. Why is he so nonchalant about deadlines?
  20. Will he actually be admitted to a college that he really wants to go to?
  21. Will he ever admit to being excited about any college?
  22. How will we pay for college?
  23. Will he receive any of these scholarships that I’m making him apply for?
  24. How do people pay for college without getting into tremendous amounts of debt?
  25. Will he make the most of his college experience?

and a bonus question

How will I survive this transition?

The truth of the matter is that no matter how much I worry, he’s going to do what he’s going to do. So far his choices have been mostly good. Still, I’m a mother, so that means my default mode is worry, but I need to remind myself that up until now he’s been about a million times better than I ever was at his age, and I survived college. Oh sure, there are a few instances that I will never ever admit to, but by the time I was a senior, I figured out how to get on the dean’s list (here’s the secret: don’t just do the assignments, actually go to class). But I was a SENIOR! He’s only going to be a freshman. My baby!

In the meantime, I’m going to insist on reviewing his essays before he hits the send button, and I’m going to hound him about that stupid retainer (I think I may hate it almost as much as he does). This stretch of life is a little complicated and full of unknowns, but I’m going to try my best to enjoy it, because I know it will be gone in an instant, and then there’s no going back.

Author: BulgingButtons

I'm a middle aged woman doing the things that middle aged women do and trying not to beat myself up. I'm living the life I choose with the man I love, the grown up son who impresses me all the time, and the most adorable pup ever rescued from the euthanasia list. We live in the heat of the Southwest, where I regularly sweat through my Lane Bryant bras.

2 thoughts on “So Many Questions on the Path to College

  1. Reading this brought me back to 2 yrs ago when I was in your shoes. I know I’m not suppose to say it, but as a mom of both sexes, boys are different than girls. I had to be on top of my boys too. As everyone told me, He WILL get into college but boy its stressful. As for the retainer, good luck with that. My son never brought his to college. 😦 Luckily, no harm done, YET. We have no control over what happens when they get there. Its so scary and nerve-wrecking, and worrisome but he will be okay. I kept drilling home that now, you’re paying for education so if you don’t attend class, you get to pay for it over, and over, and over again when you fail. (That hasn’t happened yet, fingers crossed) As for the calling, I told my boys they didn’t have to call me, although I’d love to hear their voice, but please acknowledge the text so I know their alive. Even if its 1 word. They have done this. One son only gives me 1 word answers, the other usually carries on a conversation about his day. It took one son (the one that texts a lot), 1 semester to figure out that college was not HS. It was much, much harder. Your teachers didn’t hold your hand and you can’t think studying for a test the night before will work. The other son is still trying to figure it out.

    As for you surviving-it won’t be easy as he goes off. You’ll cry and cry but you will get through it. And in a blink of an eye, 4 yrs will be gone. Enjoy the ride! xoxo

  2. The joys and torture of being a parent. I’m not one yet but it sounds similar to what I think about with my nephews lol. I’m their main mother figure and already has strong mothering instincts so it only comes naturally to question everything with them.

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