My daughter recently asked me to read her college essay.
I was honored. She’s a stroke of brilliance, that gal is, so I was secretly delighted. I’m not a notorious helicopter parent in the least so – as it was with my oldest son – I didn’t know a thing about it. I wasn’t even entirely certain where she was sending it either.
As a rule, I keep out of the whole college thing. Really, I do. Sure, we talk about it and have dinner discussions and car conversations and all that jazz but I hardly embed myself in the minutia that most parents do. Why? Because I honestly believe that if a teenager cannot successfully get him/herself into college without a parent’s help, well, then perhaps they’re not quite ready for such a massive, maturity-driven endeavor. That’s just me.
By his senior year, my oldest son was a classic ding dong in high school. I love him like mad but good grief, that kid held a 22-average in Math, barely got out of bed, and made me believe I spawned Satan that year.
It’s easy to understand why I embrace this hands-off approach: I was so pissed at him the whole stinking year I was ready to stand with my arms crossed across my chest and gloat like a madwoman with a slew of “I told you so”s by the time graduation arrived.
Cue in visual of bubble popping. It never happened.
HE, my adored ding dong …
got himself into college — every one he applied to — without one iota of help from me.
(caution, parental brag ahead: He then went on to throw the Irony discus at me and got himself into the Air Force Reserves as well. He graduated with honors from there and is in his freshman year at college as I type.)
Go figure. Life. Funny, right?
So here I am doing the college thing again. Only this time I’m a wee more interested because my daughter is soooo not a ding dong,
I was excited to read her essay because as an AP/Honors/All-Around Super Student, hallelujah, I was due, man…. I knew it would be terrific.
I poured a glass of wine and started.
It began with the words, “My mother writes a blog.”
I took a hearty swig before continuing.
I won’t go into detail about the content except to say that when I finished, the swelling of pride in my heart equaled the shotgun-like-blast to my temple.
Think about it: pick one person who knows you the most, can see your soul the clearest and well, let’s not sugar-coat it, alternates between loving and loathing you the fiercest. Now ask that person to describe you. Now ask that person to provide greater detail about those descriptions.
Talk about enlightening. Have I mentioned the whole love/loathe thing?
If she sends this out beyond admissions offices, she will become famous. I, in turn, will become screwed (although, perhaps immediately appealing to Chelsea Handler as well… not too shabby).
I write about my life and the people in it all the time I tell what I believe to be humorous accounts of my family, I detail the days and the friends that make me frustrated or sad or joyous and, okay, sure, I rant about the idiot sports parents that make me furious. I don’t really think twice about the content too much because – and here’s the Aha Moment – I assume that since what I’m writing is true … then it certainly can’t be … wrong. Right?
The shoe being on the other foot was interesting indeed.
Truth is, I like it way better being behind the thoughts and words than in front of them.
(Loud? Am I loud? Really? Are you sure?)
Of course the piece was brilliant.
I never had a doubt.