So many of the young people who recognize me on the street always say, "Wow I grew up watching you." Well the image of mothers has certainly changed since my days as a television mom. Now they call them housewives of this, that and the other, but they are more like mom gladiators.
I pondered my first blog and then it hit me like a lightning bolt. Fellow moms, it is that time of year for those of you who have graduating seniors, who are headed for prom, then their first year in college; this one is for you. Remember the book, Everything You Wanted to Know About Having a Baby, yeah we all bought it. It was my guide to everything that was happening to my body and everything I needed to buy for my little boy who was at that time, safely inside my tummy. Eighteen years later, if there was a book for us moms with graduates I'd call it the Mothers Guide to Survive Freshman Year, for everything that they don't tell you in those college tours, or on the common application.
It starts with the stresses of the SAT, ACT, the subject test. I said I would never become one of (those) mothers, but we all do in certain situations like test day. As I drove my son to the high school, he sat clutching his 2 number two pencils and I gripped the steering wheel like a vise. Next come the eternal horrible college tours, which you will really see nothing except the grounds, after driving for three hours if it's summer. I suggest you simply take the virtual tour.
Then the emails will start coming, hundreds of them from colleges that I didn't even know existed all touting that they want your child. Kind of reminded me of that old Uncle Sam poster, WE WANT YOU! I studied these colleges like I was studying physics; my son wanted nothing to do with the south, the west or the Midwest, why only he and god know. If there was a scholarship for toilet paper, I applied. Then came the waiting and the shopping, I was determined to get the best deal that I could, so who better than Macys at the end of winter sales. I got hot flashes when I saw the Tommy Hilfiger extra long twin; yeah people assume that I will always be Vivian Banks rich woman from Beverly Hills. Honey I wish, but it was still too expensive so every week I went back until I got my prize; half off and another 40%. I immediately called everyone I knew. BTW boys have these choices stripes, plaids, and solids, so don't bother complaining to the store people, they already know. It has been this way I am told since there were boys, but make it a point to let them know. Girls have practically the whole damned store to choose from. That is another story in itself.
I could go on but I do progress. Fellow moms I just want to give you tidbits of what is to come especially if you are going to be empty-nesters like me. Prepare yourselves for a moment Dr. Phil, Oprah and Suze Orman could not prepare you for. With acceptance letter now received or not, you son or daughter will be ecstatic or sullen, an active participant or a lump on a log. They now will give you the I hate you so I don't have to miss you routine. Moms prepare yourselves this will be the most painful process you will go through. That wonderful friend now thinks you suck, you don't know anything, about anything, like someone put the pod in your house and an alien is living with you. Carry on my sisters, get them packing. I was determined to make this a wonderful separation, he had more crap than he could possibly use, and I suppose I went a little overboard when the clerk asked me if I was going to college.
Yippee we were on our way, OMG my baby is going to college, I had done it, and this was and is a huge measure of success. My parents didn't have the chance to hardly finish high school. We arrived at the scheduled time, well one car load arrived, my husband was lost, only because I told him the wrong exit. It looked like a teenage herd of cattle, the line wrapped around the campus to the doors that were not open yet. We had to park four flights up and that meant four flights down. Campus help was nowhere to be found. At one point I sat on the curb and cried while a cop just shook his head.
We made it. So did my husband, and my new roomier mom and I took over when the boy gave that overwhelmed look. She cleaned, while I stuffed drawers and closets. More money for books that would be brought back in a week as classes were dropped and others added, meaning no money. Then came the moment, the announcement all freshman parents must leave, I felt my heart drop into my stomach, what would he do? He gave us a quick hug, and then bolted across the field like a colt set free. We stood there exhausted, broke, but it was done. The ride home was joyous, of course I broke like a 2 year old when I walked in his empty room, but I survived freshman move in, and you will too.
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