Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Palpable Feeling of Relief

They did it: it's done.

The application is filled out. Signed. Dated

Teen Spirit, Hepcat and Teen Spirit managed to select 12 public high schools and order them according to preference.

The guidance counselor has it.

Hepcat didn't sleep a wink last night. Teen Spirit's high school application was only part of the anxiety running rampant in his mind. Last week his hard drive crashed. So in addition to worrying about Teen Spirit's future and the family's money situation, Hepcat was trying to figure out how he was going to print up 50 pictures or more without a computer for this weekend's craft fair.

Smartmom popped up at 6:30 am and saw only OSFO in the bed -- Clever Grandma was sleeping in OSFO's room. No Hepcat.

Smartmom looked everywhere for him. It's not a huge apartment so that didn't take long. She checked Teen Spirit's bed twice -- maybe Hepcat crawled in there. Nope. Was he on the green leather couch where he sometimes ends up? Negative. She checked to see if his camera was in its spot -- was he out taking pictures of the dawn? Nope. Camera on the table in the living room.

Hmmmm. Where did Hepcat go? It's time to fill out Teen Spirit's high school application. Procrastination time is OVER. He wouldn't run out over this, up and leave, end it all...

Finally the front door opened at around 6:45. Hepcat had to re-park the car because the city is repaving Third Street and all cars had to be moved.

Mystery solved.

So they argued. Hey, isn't that what everyone does when they're stressed? The argument didn't take hold so they moved on. And thus began the final lap of the high school application process. They started slow, but gained momentum. By 7:15 they were really going strong. Insideschools.com was open on the laptop, names of schools were being bandied about: Ever heard of...what does it say about...what are the statistics on...oh shit, we still need an eleventh choice...

Smartmom and Hepcat were a walking, talking NYC public high school strategy machine. And they worked like a team, a smooth, clean high school machine—two heads better than one. Pencil sharpened, guide book open, code numbers flying. They were working fast, they were working smart, they were doing the public school hustle.

And then it was done. They could hardly believe it. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. They'd filled in all 12 little boxes on the application form and there was nothing more to do. The silence was truly deafening (no one was up yet). It felt good, it felt right, it felt scary (hope he doesn't get his 12th choice...)

Then something akin to buyer's remorse set in: Did we make the right decision? Why'd we pick that school? Should we re-order them? What the hell are we doing? But that didn't last long either. It was time to part ways with that ominous piece of paper, that hideous reminder of a hideous process that has permeated their lives these last two months.

Shoo, shoo, time to fly. Be on your way high school application. Be on your way.

They kissed the sheet of paper, said blessings over it, summoned every Jewish, Presbeytarian, Buddhist prayer they could think of...

Smartmom walked it over to the guidance counselor's office.

And so the waiting begins.


At 6:46 AM, Blogger brooklynfox said...

Phew. Congratulations to SM and Hepcat. I've said it before, but Teen Spirit is one lucky boy. He's got parents who are dedicated to his happiness, his future, and his self esteem. You kissed the application for chrissakes! It's like kissing your lovely prince and wishing him luck. Fly away Teen Prince. Your mom and dad love you. Lucky boy. RFJ

At 4:55 PM, Blogger mamainwaiting said...

wow, what a stressful experience. I'm praying with you that he gets into his first,second or third choice. Our thoughts are with you - MIW


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