Well, it is both distressing and somewhat bolstering to know that I’m not the only one in an early-AM Doom Loop. I really loved Swistle’s comment: At least tomorrow I can think from my nest: here we are, all together.

(The same day I read that, I was driving through campus here in town and saw a student with a sweatshirt that read: At least we’re all under the same moon. I remember that very specifically because this girl and her hoodie and my associated thoughts of communal experiences gave me Hot Welling-Eyeball Feelings, and right afterwards I saw a man holding an old greying-muzzle dog like a baby, waiting to cross a busy road, and I found myself doing a little gasp-sob right out loud: *watery inhale* “Oh!” I mean, isn’t it something how the world can still just reach out and grab you by the heart.)

:::

I’m currently snurfling my way through what feels like my millionth head cold in the last couple years. I used to feel like I had a fairly robust immune system but now if either one of my kids even emits a single cough I’m like GOD FUCKING DAMMIT because I know my future: whatever brief sickness they have, I will magnify and lengthen it. I get the Extended Remix version, feat. DJ 12DaysofMucus. My ability to fight off your basic rhinovirus has apparently departed along with my marketing appeal as a target demographic.

:::

Riley just completed the early admission process for Dartmouth. (Wow, what a sentence to write here in my mommy blog.) This is his longest-shot school and I have Very Big Complicated Feelings about the possibility that he might get accepted. He should find out in a couple months and then the focus may change to other possibilities and other academic priorities.

Senior year, college applications, SATs, homecoming, prom. None of these things are experiences I can relate to. Maybe some of you don’t know this about me: I left school very early, my sophomore year. I got my GED but I missed out on pretty much all the classic high school moments, except maybe the general teen combo-plate feeling of ennui/crushing self-consciousness/superiority.

I don’t think this makes me a lesser parent, but it surely makes me a less knowledgable one at this stage. I really can’t offer much from my own experience in the way of useful advice or guidance. Then again, I’m not sure most teenagers are actually looking to hear about how their parents totally get it because they did a semi-similar thing 30+ years ago?

:::

Dylan recently finished his first year playing football, as a sophomore. I’m crazy proud of him for coming in as a new player (I feel like most football kids have been training since kindergarten??) and putting in the hard work all season. Football is definitely a whole different beast than any other youth sport and the commitment and community involvement is ummm intense, but I think it was so good for him. Now if only I could manage to get my brain to understand anything about football aside from the basics (everyone wants the toy), because whether I’m watching his team or the NFL the same thing happens every time:

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Annie
Annie
5 months ago

Dartmouth!! It’s so far away!!!

mcw
mcw
5 months ago

College applications, oh my! Good luck to you all through the process. I have to much to learn in the next couple years about all this business.

Nine
Nine
5 months ago

I didn’t drop out but actively avoided all collectively social high school / college experiences (prom, parties, clubs, people). I couldn’t fathom hanging out with anyone in a group outside of school – I needed to go hide in my cave after dealing with the Classroom Experience for X hours everyday. Introversion + Social Anxiety + mayyyybe a soupçon of neurodiversion. I still struggle with group social things that are supposed to be fun because I’m always mentally counting down to when i can gtfo. Unfortunately I was raised that the Irish Goodbye is rude af so most of my anxiety stems from waiting for the perfect time to announce my departure, which never comes because everyone is having fun. It’s dumb.
New Englander/Masshole checking in, Dartmouth is lovely! I know it’s super far away but technology can bridge the gap. My high school fwb did kinda the opposite, he absconded to Reed College (3000+ miles away from our hometown) back before anyone knew what AOL was. Haven’t seen him since.

Swistle
5 months ago

“Everyone wants the toy” is the best explanation of football. There is nothing more to learn.

Lisa
Lisa
5 months ago

I’ve been reading your blog since Riley was a baby and I was in my room at Dartmouth. How funny! I actually coordinate interviews where I live and am very involved.

Shawna
5 months ago

I had to google Dartmouth to find out where it is (I had heard of it, but I only have a hazy idea of where most American universities are unless the state is in their name), and it turns out I practically drove past it when I was in New England last summer! I love that area and have hiked Mt. Washington in NH many times.

Funnily enough, my daughter is applying to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver as one of her top two choices, so if she goes there and Riley goes to Dartmouth we’ll each be closer to the other’s kid. There is definitely a shift in focus to the end of high school / prep for university in our house too. I’ve even bought her a large sturdy wheeled duffle bag as a gift for her birthday in January in preparation for her moving out.

Julia
Julia
5 months ago

wow, they were just very, very young boys. it’s emotional to navigate this time. I remember simultaneously wanting them to go out into the world and thrive and stay home with me. The going out won. They are both more than 1,000 miles from home, in opposite directions.

Cara
Cara
5 months ago

I don’t know if it matters, but I think pretty much every generation of parents is lost during the college application process. I was a first generation college student and my husband immigrated here literally two years before going to college, so it was unsurprising that we relied heavily on guidance counselors, etc. But, we both did it! And even went on for law school. We know this. We can help our kid… Except now she’s getting ready to go to high school, I’m starting to get the lay of the land, and holy shit has it changed. We don’t know this. And it doesn’t appear getting kids to college is part of a guidance counselors job (where I live) anymore. We are so going to have to get help.

Christine
Christine
4 months ago

I’ve always thought of Riley as so! much! older than my kid (born the following April) but now everything concertinas together and they’re both applying to colleges. As immigrants, neither his dad nor I have been through the American high school and college application process either, so we’re just as useless in much the same way as you feel, i.e. even if we had done it, it probably wouldn’t mean much at this point in time. We just keep helpfully explaining to everyone how different the system in Ireland is, which is entirely irrelevant to everything. But right there with you with all the feels.

Katie
Katie
3 months ago

I’m just so glad you’re back. I just was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert say she thinks the internet is going backwards…away from social media, back to blogs, and I truly hope she is right….thank you for writing. You say what I’m thinking but in a funnier and more well-written way! “Everyone wants the toy.” Dying.
My kid plays FB too and I’ve learned I can’t ask any more questions during the games. My husband says he has explained that question to me 356 times before, how do I not remember the answer? I do. not. understand. the kicking things if they aren’t an extra point. Why are we kicking in the middle of the field? And why do they sometimes NOT TOUCH THE BALL, and other times grab and and run and other times grab it and put a knee down? What the fresh hell is going on. I just sit there with drool hanging out of my mouth and a vacant stare on my face and try not to ask a single question about the kicks. New personal FB viewing goal: ask no questions, cheer when those around me are cheering and act like I know what the hell is going on. At least we have the scoreboard to let us know if we are supposed to be happy or sad at the end!