I woke up this morning awash with the nervous excitement of a special day. In the shower I took the time to wash my hair and even shave my legs (ok, my shins). After carefully putting on makeup and curling my hair I contemplated my wardrobe. What does a hip mom wear to freshman orientation with her oldest? I asked myself. It needs to be casual and cool, but not like I’m trying too hard to fit in… Plus we’re going to be doing a lot of walking around the campus, probably, and it’s hot out, so it needs to be not too sweaty. First impressions are really important.
When I finally achieved the perfect balance of effortlessly rad and practical, complete with just the right amount of accessories, I came downstairs to find all three of my kids eating cereal around the kitchen island.
Me: OK, so while we’re gone, you’re in charge, Gray. You guys can play your electronic devices and if you find Jo’s skateboard while I’m gone I’ll take you all to get ice cream after lunch.
Jo: It was stolen, Mom. We’re not going to find it.
Gray: When will you be back?
Me: I’m not sure. And I can’t believe someone came all the way into our garage in a gated neighborhood and took only your skateboard! It has to be around here somewhere.
Ben: Well the orientation is from 9-11:30, but I’ll just text you when I’m ready to be picked up.
Me: …You… don’t want me to come with you to the orientation?
Ben: It’s not that I don’t want you to go, Mom. It’s not for parents. Parents aren’t even allowed. You have your own orientation tomorrow night. You knew this.
Me: I know, I just thought I would go to both! Are you sure parents aren’t supposed to come? You don’t have the best track record for knowing details about this kind of stuff. What if you get there and all the other kids have their parents with them? I’ve always gone with you to Meet The Teacher before! Why would it be completely different this year? I feel like they wouldn’t just randomly change the rules of parenting without warning us…
Ben: If, for some reason, I’m completely wrong and there are tons of parents there, I will definitely call you and you can come find me.
Me: Do you PROMISE???
Ben: Yes. Even though it’s not going to happen.
Jo: So Gray doesn’t get to be in charge?
So that’s why I just dropped my 14 year old off at an enormous high school all by himself and watched him self-consciously disappear into a stream of parentless teens, while I sat in my car and wondered if this is the end of… something.
It’s also why I’m leaving to go shopping and buy myself a breakfast cocktail. The little ones don’t want me, the big one doesn’t need me, and I’ve already cried all my perfectly applied ‘cool mom’ makeup off, so I might as well get drunk and buy myself something pretty.