As I look at you growing up so quickly right in front of me, it feels like the clock keeps ticking faster, which possibly, partly, explains why I am trying to slow it down by learning to meditate and do yoga – things that help me stay more present and get less caught up in the future, especially yours.
Lately, I find myself spending too much time thinking about what’s coming next for you after high school. I realize that it is only natural to some extent. After all, I am your mom and step-mom and want the best for your futures, which, for me, includes each of you walking across a stage to receive diplomas from a solid college or university.
But thanks, in part, to some newfound Zen, I have come to realize that in today’s hyper-competitive, everything-looks-Instagram-worthy world, even that is asking a lot of you. In the past when you have told me that I just can’t understand the future-related pressure that you feel, I probably downplayed it, and on occasion even took a page from your communication books and rolled my eyes. Sorry about that.
Because even though I haven’t saddled you with demands of perfect grades and SAT scores or pushed my, or your dad’s alma maters at you, I can’t claim to have a perfect record when it comes to not getting caught up in the pre-college frenzy. Which is why I want to apologize for some of the especially memorable things that I am guilty of:
- For putting a deck of SAT vocabulary on the dining room table when you were 8. I thought that we could learn a new word every night at dinner. Reprehensible (if you don’t know what it means, look it up; it might be on the exam).
- For researching mentors and tutors to help navigate the application and admissions process when you were in 5thgrade. Don’t worry, I quickly stopped.
- For mentioning the “C” word when you were all still in middle school. The first time that I did, I remember the confused look that I got in return and then the response: “But why are we talking about this now? I’m only in 7thgrade.”
- For thinking that “this would look good on an application” any time that I ever encouraged one of you to pursue an extracurricular. It surely wasn’t the only thing that crossed my mind, but I would be lying if I said that it never had.
- For pushing you to push yourselves for the sake of a four-year related outcome. I want you to put yourselves out there because testing is how we grow and how we move past the fears and limits that live in our heads.
- For nudging you to “Find your passion” so that you can know exactly who you are and what you want to do with your life by the age of 17. I am 47 and can’t say that I am much closer to knowing than I was at your age.
I am sure that there are a lot more examples that I could add if I asked for your input. I won’t, though. I don’t need to. College is still three years away and it is your journey, with me playing a supporting role.
I am here to help and will do my best to take a page from the Hippocratic Oath: first do no harm (and no, this is not a subtle hint about my wanting you to go to medical school). I know that your application days will be here with the blink of an eye. Until then, I’ll try not to give you so many reasons to roll yours at me.