Friday, April 19, 2013

The waiting game

When Jack received his first college acceptance letter there was unbridled elation in this household. I was giddy. Even my normally emotionally contained son cracked a big smile, gave a little fist pump, and declared, I'm going to college!

It's not that any of us were ever really worried that he wouldn't be accepted to college. But with your first child the whole process is such a great big, hairy, scary, overwhelming, bigger-than-life process and so even as you look at the numbers and statistics and console yourself that everything should be fine, you just don't know until you know.

Then, he received a few more college acceptances and it got kind of fun there for awhile.

Wow! He has choices! Awesome!

And being the information-seeking person that I am, I poured over all of the material that started spilling into our mailbox from these various schools that had deemed Jack worthy of admittance. I like the process of gathering knowledge, so I had fun with my stacks of college brochures, pamphlets and publications, even if I was, for the most part, a Party of One.

It came as no surprise to me that my son had a different way of going about this process. However, from the outside looking in it wasn't always easy to tell what exactly "his way" was (because it mostly involved a lot of ignoring all of the copious amounts of mail coming from these schools and saying, I don't know, when asked what he was thinking so far) but having known the kid for 18 years, I kept the faith that the wheels were indeed spinning.

And then, he let it be known that he had narrowed his pool down to two schools. Both fine schools where I have every confidence he could be successful but geographically, very different. One is approximately 2 miles from our front door, and the other is in Northern California.

Okay, but regardless, we are making progress! He's got it down to two schools and now he just has to wrestle with the pros and cons of each a little longer and then....

And then...we wait and we wait and we wait.

That was almost 6 weeks ago that he announced he had narrowed the field down to two finalists. And now...he just seems stuck.

If you catch him in the right mood, he will talk openly and willingly about his thoughts and struggles in making this decision. He is wrestling with all the right things but as he said to me only last night,

Mom... It's just a really big decision.

And it is. Probably the biggest he's ever had to make at this point in his life.

So, I'm trying to be patient. I'm trying not to hound him and press him and make every single conversation about this one topic.

But it's hard. I told my sister that I bite my tongue constantly from turning every request he makes these days into an opportunity to blackmail him into a decision.

Oh, you'd like to know what's for dinner? Sure, make a decision on college and I'll tell you.

You're wondering if you could get a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that are now threadbare and have holes in them? Of course! Just as soon as you make a college decision.

Did you just ask if your girlfriend can come over? Of course she can! Tell her that she can come over right after you announce where you are going to college.

But something tells me such hostage-taking tactics might backfire on me.

Fortunately, there is an actual deadline he has to meet and it is rapidly approaching. I know he feels the clock ticking and as anxious as I am for him to make a decision, I also feel deeply for him and know the pain of indecision.

He's a big boy on the brink of making a big decision and taking his first steps out into this big, crazy, beautiful, scary world.

And yet, lately, all I see when I look at this little guy.