I’ve been in such a tizzy over my first-born leaving home for college, I forgot to get upset about something else. Our youngest is a high school senior. He’s almost out the door, too. This is all so wrong.
By DENISE SNODELL
Special to The Star
Every year, I’m reminded about the spectacular family planning my husband and I partook in during the mid-’90s. We had our first baby in 1995. Before the hospital’s revolving door could slow down, we swooshed in again in 1996 for yet another middle-of-the-night labor.
“Wait. Weren’t you guys just here, like, last year?”
It’s been the theme of our lives: Didn’t we just do this? Milestones happen in quick succession, or often at the same exact time.
The early years were tough. We aligned ourselves with two cribs. When our newborn was just 10 days old, the oldest bailed out of his little mattress jail — kaboom. He was ready for a bed and ready to wander as he pleased. His little bro caught on to the anti-crib society early as well. They were on opposite nap schedules. I didn’t sleep much for years.
The grade-school era was sweet. (I think.) It was all Legos and basketball and pinewood derbies and science projects, with, OK, maybe some scattered ER visits.
The middle school and high school years were nuts. Everything seemed to overlap. It felt like my guys were twins. Braces came on at the same time, and I was the one nominated to turn the key on their palate-expanders. Painful for all parties and symbolic of adolescence in general.
They also became Eagle Scouts simultaneously. I don’t know what freaked me out more — a house full of ticks or all horizontal surfaces covered in paperwork.
And somehow — this one’s a beaut — they both decided to learn to drive the same summer. In one July, I aged about 12 years.
But now, here I am, on this crazy launching pad. That swooshing feeling is coming on stronger than ever. The revolving door is spinning, spinning, spinning.
Take, for instance, that numbing weekend this past August. On a Friday, we dropped off our oldest at his dorm. You might have read about that whole saga and how I couldn’t stop buying blankets. What I didn’t tell you was that 48 hours later, we took our youngest to a College Kick-Off meeting at his high school.
We were still in a fog, still stunned and still secretly fantasizing about wearing beer helmets all day and screaming at the sky. But, no, that’s not us. We cheerfully went to the meeting but pretty much lip-synched everything the speakers had to say. GPA, early decision deadlines, ACT scores, all that.
Right now there is no time to take a breath, to evaluate, or to have one lousy week free of the term, “Common App.” I was so ready to not get another brochure in the mail featuring photo spreads of Gothic buildings and coeds in goggles peering at test tubes. But here they are again, catalogs and envelopes cluttering my kitchen counter, trying to lure away my child. I am reminded “the end is near” just about every day.
Here’s a silly nugget about this launching phase. When our first-born started getting college marketing pieces, it was instantly overwhelming. I decided to save every single mailer. Post cards, brochures, everything, went into two large shopping bags. For this column, I weighed the whole shebang: 46 pounds. Not kidding. Forty. Six. Pounds. (I might turn these catalogs into an art installation. It will be called “Goggle Mountain.”)
At this point, I’d guess our postal carrier has delivered about another 30 pounds of the SAME EXACT mailers, but now addressed to son No. 2.
I’m going to try to savor every minute of our baby’s senior year. Because in a mere sixteen more pounds of brochures, he’ll be gone, too.
Freelancer Denise Snodell writes every other week.