… on craze and contemplation; last leaving the nest


Three and a Half Kids Worth of College Admissions Stuff

My life has been reduced to piles.

And boxes.

And more piles.

And a list (or seven).

This month, Number One Son Sam will graduate college down in New Orleans (at the Superdome no less… with Harry Connick Jr. talking to us no less (this is very exciting for me as I have loved his work for, like, ev-ah).

And then, two weeks after Sam graduates college, Gabe will graduate high school (on the Groton-Dunstable High School Football Field no less… with Mr. Mastrullo speaking no less (yes, I’ve also loved Gabe’s high school principal work for, like… four years)).

And in and amongst these two life passage things for Sam and Gabe, we are preparing for the move to Maine, which means we are cleaning out, gussying up, organizing, and getting ready to sell The Disposable Shack (our house here).

We are also prepping for a huge family and friends party to celebrate the graduations (and also Granny’s birthday). Oh, and we are getting the Maine gardens ready for a potential photo shoot (I know! More about that later, it just came up!), and planning a family vacation for the seven of us for the week pretty much right after Gabe graduates.

Please note: “We” is a liberally used pronoun throughout this post.

Also we have to finish the Maine renovation (which involves paint and choosing knobs (which sent me into my only breakdown the last time I renovated anything (knobs are hard)).

I am truly not complaining.  I’m actually laughing at myself (and dramatically rolling my eyes and throwing my head into my hands) for not realizing so much would coalesce at exactly the same time).

So this morning I was cleaning out my desk drawer and…

I suddenly stopped to breathe.

This desk that has been hanging out in “The Computer Room” of our house here on Thorndike Street for the better part of eleven years.

Moved only when the Christmas Tree displaces it on a day in early December.

Inside the left desk drawer is the ‘college stuff’.  It has also skulked, over time, into the left big center drawer.  The ‘college stuff’ is a slippery sucker.

It first started taking up drawer space when First Born Mac was a junior in high school…

All the stuff sent from admissions departments as they all magically figure out you have a kid who might want to go to college (sure, the mailing of it all is probably triggered when they take their SATs or ACTs, but I prefer to think of it as some sort of college admissions department voodoo).


So many of those envelopes and ‘look books’ and brochures came out of the desk this morning, along with “The Folders”.

In the drawer this morning, I found 21 folders.  Each had a check list on the front, with the name of the school, the admissions requirements, dates and deadlines for that particular institution.

All filled in, checked off.

Some were only partially complete, victims of a last-minute decision not to apply… potentially after a visit that resulted in a change of heart or mind.

I have no use for them anymore.

Our stories of the research and visits (and ditching certain tours to go see a movie or grab some wings) and applying and nervously waiting for envelopes (big or small for Mac, Sam, and Jack) that became notification e-mails and/or the dreaded ‘log in at this time on this date to find out your acceptance status” by the time Gabe went through it this year…

All of the stories of ‘where will I/they go to college?’… they are tucked into our brains as memories.

To be nudged awake at any time we choose.

The background stress generated by the question, “Will my kid get into even one college?!” – a key input to the PCATI (Parental College Acceptance Terror Index) – a thing of my past.

This is a big thing.

So I sat there, all this stuff scattered across my desk, and took a deep breath…

One of those that you hold for a few seconds before releasing it.

My youngest, Self-Proclaimed Perfect Boy Gabe, has made his decision.

In the fall he will head off to college in North Carolina.

We are so excited.

So proud.

So looking forward to seeing what he does with this opportunity, with his time there.

And wondering how our lives will shift and change as he uses the wings he was born with…

The ones we helped him learn to use.

In my nose I felt that familiar tingle, and then my eyes were wet.

I felt ‘I’m going to miss him‘ and ‘The house will be so quiet‘.

And I sat with both of them, in the quiet of the morning… watching the steam rise from my coffee.

But then…

From somewhere else in the house, Blaze disciplined Marshal, who yelped and ran to JoHn’s side for back-up.  I could hear JoHn comforting him, and imagined the dang dog lapping it up.

The phone rang and I okay’d a date for the driveway in Maine to be leveled out after a strange plow incident this winter.

The fed-ex guy pounded on the door sending the dogs into a tizzy…

JoHn came down and asked if I wanted some scrambled eggs and more coffee.

We talked about the guy delivering Granny’s new car tomorrow (she’s getting a mini cooper convertible!)

And I realized, not for the first time, that each phase of life comes with unexpectedly great surprises, big and small.

The college stuff went into the bin.

And I had eggs and coffee with the Nearly Perfect Husband.

And wondered, with anticipation this time…

What’s next?

Thanks for readin’.

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