At the top of one pinnacle, looking toward the next


We are at the top of the roller coaster. We’ve had lots of the little dips and a couple great swerves but this feels like it might be the big one.

It is the second semester of my youngest child’s senior year of high school. Time seems to have sped up since I wrote, seemingly yesterday, “she is four years and 364 days old, and she is spinning away from me like a leaf on a breeze.”

When I wrote that, she was pulling me, somewhat impatiently, into kindergarten registration. She had spent an entire year watching her adored older brother disappear into the hallowed halls of our local elementary school.

She wanted a piece of that in the worst way. Then, I blinked. There was a blur of glitter and glue, granola bars, lost books and lost teeth.

Growing up

There were skinned knees and bruised feelings. Butterfly costumes and book fairs.

It was my greatest blessing to be there for all of it. It is normal, when you are the parent of a senior, to be asked regularly, “did you cry?”

When she played her last game did you cry? (A little).

When she sweated that lead role to the point of anxiety, then called, her voice trilling on the phone “Mom? I got it! I’m Fantine!”

I was too over the moon happy for her, and her fellow castmates in their own hard won roles, to cry. Did I cry when she brought home a “college schedule?”

No. How about when university admissions rolled in? No.

I’m not made of tougher stuff. I’m tissue paper fragile when it comes to feelings and sentiment. I will cry. I know it.

I have my waterproof mascara and tissues at the ready. Most days, I’m going to try really hard to stay positive. I’m going to get through this by realizing how ready she is for this.

Bigger things

High school has been fun but I would no more want her to do it forever than I would have expected my preschooler to never leave that pre-K class with the finger paints and the nap mats.

She is a senior in high school. She takes college courses at a nearby campus. She holds the school record for most goals scored for girl’s soccer.

She is a National Honor Society Member. She has a singing lead in the school play. These accomplishments are all listed on college applications.

It is what seniors in high school do. I’m still spending on cap and gown costs, prom dress, and activity fees.

In a blink I will send her baby photo to the yearbook staff, snap endless photos, and watch her walk across the stage to accept the close of a childhood chapter. She will toss that cap and spin again.

Looking ahead

This time she won’t be swallowed up by a kindly kindergarten teacher who will return her to me in hours. She will be swallowed up by life. Of course, if we are blessed and fortunate, we will still have years to assist her in attending college that costs the equivalent of one human organ.

This is when you start to regret all that wine you drank to get them through middle school. Clearly, selling your kidney is out. I fill out the FAFSA and wonder why I can’t write off the pallet of poster board I purchased over the years for various school projects.

Dear FAFSA Funding Folks: we spent all our money on academic fees, minivans, organic juice, and soccer cleats.

Please send scholarships — and tissues.

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