Oh What a Ride

roller coaster 2There is this great scene in “Parenthood” (the movie from 1989) where Helen Shaw, as the grandmother, relates a story about roller coasters.  “Up, down, up, down…oh what a ride. You know, it was just interesting to me how a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together.”

Our life has been a bit like a roller coaster the past few weeks.  After Calvin finished the Fellowship interview at University of Arkansas, we started our wait of 11 long days to find out if he was selected.  I’m not sure if it was a good or bad thing, but in December, we had scheduled wisdom teeth removal right during the middle of that 11 days, so we actually had something else to think about.  Things like ice packs, NO STRAWS, swelling and relief that we didn’t have to do “that” again.

I had been keeping a running dialog in my head those 11 days about how could they NOT pick my son for a Fellowship and how would I help him with the disappointment  if he wasn’t selected.  There is always that urge to turn everything into a teaching moment, but I had decided we had enough of those growing up – we would just be disappointed for a while, pick ourselves up and go on.  In addition to my dialog, we began receiving emails confirming the scholarships that college had offered Calvin, so I had the feeling that they were trying to let us down easy.

On the night before the big decision day, I went to my 26th and last public school Parent-Teacher Conference for my son.  I, along with many other senior parents, found out that our kids were experiencing an extreme case of “Senioritis” this year.  I had one teacher tell me that we were ahead of the game as my son was at least getting up in the morning and attending school, unlike some of the other seniors.  However, I felt that “just attending school” wasn’t quite enough as I wanted him to finish well.  Runners don’t run the 26 miles in a marathon just so they can just walk the last .2 miles; they dig down and try to find the energy to sprint to the finish.  (At least that’s what  my runner husband tells me.)

We’d been up about the interview, preoccupied with the wisdom teeth extraction, excited about the confirmation of scholarships that were guaranteed, (but troubled as well) and now concerned about finishing well.  So, it was amazing when we came home from our semi-annual post conference fast food and waiting for us was an email congratulating Calvin on being selected for a Fellowship at University of Arkansas!  Grandma knew what she was talking about.  Life is a roller coaster!

Here is a link to the scene where Grandma describes the roller coaster ride.  If you haven’t seen “Parenthood”, rent, borrow or stream it.  It should be required viewing for all young couples starting a family.   (Ashley, have you watched it yet?)

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Remember Your Luggage

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.   Around the square, people were enjoying late lunches, walking and window shopping and getting nervous at the Chancellor Hotel.

You see, 150 students were gathered to start the Fellowship Interview Weekend and about that many parents were helicoptering around, trying to help in some way at the last minute.  You could hear instructions being murmured, phones and watches synchronized and some patting and hugging going on to reassure the parents that the student was okay.   In fact, I think this weekend could have been harder on the parents than the students.

We tried to be very cool and not helicopter around.  Our biggest worry about the weekend wasn’t the essays or interviews, but since the students had separate hotel rooms, would our son be able to get up on time, get ready, get his luggage back to us and get on the bus in time for 8 am interview?

On Monday morning, we alternated between picking up our phones to text Calvin and reassuring each other that he had it under control.  As the minutes ticked by, I reasoned that he ultimately was responsible for his success at this weekend, but I sure didn’t want his usual sleep habits to get in the way of a scholarship.  Then came the quiet knock at the door.  It was our son, fully dressed and ready to go, handing over his suitcase and starting his day.  Yippee!  At that moment, I was as proud as if he had already received the Fellowship.

Checking out later that morning, we were behind a father who was trying to retrieve his son’s luggage that had been left in the room.  We exchanged smug smiles.  OUR son had paid attention to the information session and had gotten his luggage to us in time.  Feelings of happiness that our son would be able to “make it” in the world washed over me as well as the self-satisfaction  that our son was just a little bit better than that guy’s son.  Hey, it might have been wrong, but I felt it.

After our respective sessions and lunch, we all connected up together again and came home.  I viewed the weekend as a success.  How could they not choose my son?  The one who was able to get up in time and get his luggage to his folks?  It was a no-brainer.  I was hearing the Cranberries’ “I’m Walking on Sunshine” playing in my head.  All was  great.

However, my son has just informed me this morning that his shaving kit is still in Fayetteville.