Surviving Senior Year: Backpacks and College Apps and SATs, Oh My!

Every year when my kids go back to school, the feeling is bittersweet. I’m sad to see the lazy days of summer go and the relaxed attitude of the kids, but I do breathe a long sigh of relief (Ok, it’s more of a “Yippie!”) when I drop them off on their first day of school. As much as I cherish our carefree summers, by Labor Day I’m ready for them to go back.

But this year is different. Very different. It was the first year I didn’t drop off Mini-Me, because now she not only drives herself (omg), but has her own carpool (OMG). This has totally thrown off my mornings. I like driving her to school and then stopping by my favorite Starbucks. To make matters worse, it was the last time we would go school supply shopping together. We do some heavy bonding at Staples (have you seen those sparkly pens and folders?), so this is a really big deal.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this will be our last year of having a “child” living at home, because our “baby” is now a SENIOR! We’re going to be, dare I say it…empty-nesters?! I hear those two words and only one word comes to mind: OLD! I’ve got this sneaking feeling I’m going straight from Pampers to Depends, with only a stop for a facelift.

Funny, when they’re little you know you’re raising them to grow up and leave you, but it all seems so far away. It’s really hard to imagine them ever growing up enough, so they could leave. But they do. Did I really think I would be cutting their food and tying their shoes forever? Would I want to? Best not to ask that question. It took two years to get used to College-Boy living away, and now Mini-Me? Face it, even if you’re not old, when the babes are gone it’s a totally different stage of parenting. And it feels a little weird.

Of course, I’m so proud of her and excited for her future. But I’m sad that this whole year is about letting her go. And I have to let her go. It’s a good thing that we have a flurry of activities to keep us so busy that we can’t focus too much on her looming departure, like college applications, SAT prep, college counselor meetings and endless nagging (ours, not hers). The upside is this keeps us busy, the downside is it just creates more stress.

Applying to college is no picnic. There’s Early Decision, Early Action, Regular and Rolling. We’ve never been early to anything, so why start now? Too many decisions to make and so many to chose from. My generation never had to work this hard to get into college and most of us couldn’t even get accepted into the same college today.

I hope this school year goes by slowly, even though we can’t wait to find out where she’s “going.” Because before you know it, Mini-Me and I will be shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a college checklist as long as a standard dorm twin-xl sheet. At least we’ll be bonding.

How did you survive your child’s senior year?

This post was originally featured on Linda’s blog, Carpool Goddess.