Yeah, well, for those of you expecting a tribute to Ozzy Osbourne: Sorry. This has more to do with the regularly scheduled departure of our family’s overbooked, out of control calendar express than any kind of heavy metal. That said, it’s about this time of year I feel like biting the head off something, so I guess there’s a little bit of a connection there.
Please forgive me for whining, and it’s not like there aren’t other times of year when things seem to spin a little out of control, and I am (or at least I try to be) mindful of how fortunate we are to be able to have so much going on and, yes, I know it’s largely self-inflicted, but, still, I’ve never liked feeling like I’m being pulled in sixty-eight different directions at once. Work, kids, school, work, kids, sports, work, kids… oh, and did I mention work and kids?
I really am grateful, but it’s at times like this that I have the hardest time maintaining some sense of balance, and am least able (it seems) to keep old (i.e. bad) habits from reasserting themselves. Every day, it seems, I have to be even more conscious, more mindful of my tendency to lapse into old, familiar, but ultimately unhealthy (both physically and otherwise) patterns of behavior.
Sometimes it helps to say it out loud (or see it in print). Beyond that, is there really any point to this post? Probably not.
So, daughter #2 and I completed our college visits today with “Accepted Student Day” at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. When we got home, one of the first acts was for her to put a Goucher College Gophers sticker on the 2004 Jeep Liberty we bought a few days ago (no matter that I never expected to be able to do such a thing). What does that tell you?
Wheaton College, Connecticut College, and Goucher College are all fine institutions. Having gone through about a dozen college visits in the last two years I feel as though I have become somewhat of a minor expert on the subject, and I can say that our daughter would have been fine at any of the three. But, arriving home after our last – repeat last (until I – Lord willing – go through the same process with our youngest in two years) – college visit, one of the first things she wanted to do was to put a fighting Gopher sticker on the rear window of “her” car.
Guess it’s official.
Three years ago the Canadian rock band Rush released its eighteenth studio album, Snakes & Arrows. This coincided with my rediscovery of the band I enjoyed so much in college and for a few years thereafter. I somewhat lost track of them in the 1990s but got reacquainted following the R30 tour. When the Snakes & Arrows tour kicked off in the summer of 2007 I said, “I’m going! I may not have another chance, so I’m GOING!”
Except I didn’t. One thing after another conspired to keep me from going to any of the shows within easy reach and I didn’t make it.
Last week I saw an announcement on Facebook (finally! something useful on Facebook!) that Rush was going on tour again this year. Not only did I say the same thing I did in 2007, but this time I actually bought tickets to the show at Mohegan Sun Arena this coming July. This time I really AM going, but I won’t be going alone.
Musically speaking, Rush is not everyone’s cup of tea, at least that’s how it is in my household. Except for daughter #2, who will be coming with me, I usually can only listen to Rush albums alone in the car or on headphones, unless we’re driving somewhere and the radio station we’re listening to happens to play one of their songs. The Time Machine show promises to be a real treat, since it won’t involve headphones or sitting in the car (except to get there). It includes a first-ever complete live performance of the album “Moving Pictures.” Since Rush is known for putting on a good show, I expect we will hear enough other familiar songs (and maybe some new material… right, guys?)
I expect the crowd to be a pretty eclectic mix, from teens and twenty-somethings to forty- (like me) and fifty-somethings (like the guys on stage). To me that says something about the appeal of Rush’s music but, in any case, I’m just excited to be going – finally. After all, who knows if I’ll ever have another chance?
Monday was a return engagement for daughter #2 and me at Connecticut College as she narrows her list of possible schools to one. Tomorrow night and Friday it’s back to Wheaton for one last look before she has to send in a commitment and a deposit.
Visiting Muhlenberg and Goucher last week, Conn and Wheaton this week I have come away feeling that daughter #2 would be fine at any of them. Muhlenberg provided no aid package at all, so that pretty much sealed their fate. The remaining three are all in the same ballpark financially, and I could easily see our daughter attending and fitting in at any of them. The question, though, isn’t what I (and my wife) think, but what our daughter thinks.
One more visit, and then it’s decision time.
The reference on the seal of Goucher College is from 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Given the emphasis on a diverse liberal arts education, writing, speaking, and critical thinking, this seems to be a good fit. Aside from being a good motto for an institution of higher learning, it also seems to be a good motto for life. Spending the day in Washington, DC with our eldest daughter also gave me time to reflect on what is good in life.
Our eldest and I have always had a good relationship, a bit difficult at times because we can both be so headstrong, but nothing too dramatic. And yet, as I have heard it said in at least some of the many college visits and information sessions, parents and students may find their relationships strengthened by the separation as the transition to college takes place. This, at least, has been my experience.
At Thanksgiving our daughter had only been away from home a few weeks, but since we visited her in mid-October we really hadn’t been apart all that long. Christmas and New Year’s holidays then saw her at home for about three weeks. But it has definitely felt longer, and it had been longer this time – about three months (not like we’ve been counting) – until our visit yesterday (now last week). Unfortunately we couldn’t all come because of other events, school, and work on Monday and Tuesday, but middle daughter and I took a side day trip Sunday to Washington and spent the day with her older sister.
The envelopes are all in; five acceptances and three wait-lists (replied to with “thanks, but no thanks”). Now it’s decision time. In a few days middle daughter and I will visit Muhlenberg College; in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Goucher College just outside Baltimore, Maryland (Goucher is in Towson, the seat of Baltimore County, but just over the line from the city of Baltimore). Lake Forest is probably too far to be in the cards for a visit, but we have follow-up trips planned to Wheaton College and Connecticut College just before our daughter has to make the fateful choice and send in the deposit.
Our middle daughter is, I guess, somewhat typical of middle children in that she has not expressed a strong preference for any of these schools. That may be characterized as indecisive; I tend to see it also as adaptable. She has been very organized about her search process but, even as we near the end of it, I have no more idea today what school she will eventually choose than I did when we started.
Ask me again in a month.