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The Waiting Game

The waiting (way-ay-ay-ting) is the hardest part.

Cue Tom Petty.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop worrying over what I can’t control. I’ve also told my two girls this, particularly the oldest, Peyton, who seems to have inherited my worry gene. Apologies for that portion of my DNA. And apologies for reneging on a resolution so soon after making it.

But when you have two children applying to umpteen different schools, worrying often tops the list. All I know for sure is that next year I will have two freshmen somewhere. Katherine will be a freshman in high school, and Peyton will be one in college. But where? That is the question.

The applications, transcripts, teacher recommendations, essays--so many essays--have all been sent. The tours, the interviews, the Facebook reconnaissance are now out of the way. Actually, the Facebook stalking continues, as the girls check out what other students at various schools are up to. Admittedly, I check them out as well. Do kids look friendly, drunk, inappropriate? See, girls? This is why I’ve always told you NOT to stick out your tongue or show midriffs. And, please, no red solo cups.

I talk to other parents about this process and most, if they’re honest, say it’s tortuous. But others say they are taking a laissez-faire approach. “Oh, I have no idea what his essay is even about,” one friend tells me with a straight face. At first I think, Wow, something must be wrong with me because I am worried sick about everything. And then my thoughts turn darker: that mother is lying. That, or she’s just highly evolved and I am not. Damn DNA again.

I’m not proud of these drifting--and sometimes diabolical--thoughts. But I am proud that the girls’ father and I have stayed out of the selection process. Both Peyton and Katherine chose the schools to which they would apply. One thing we learned was that the more we nudged them in one direction, the more they veered toward another. In the end, the schools--if they are fortunate enough to get in any of them--would all be good choices.

But, of course, I’ve already started worrying about what will happen to them at a new school. Will they make friends easily? Will they like the school? Will they be prepared? Will they be happy? Will they be safe? As I write this, I realize these are the same concerns I had when the girls entered kindergarten.

“Wherever I end up is where I should be,” Peyton tells me. “I can’t worry about it any more.”

“That’s right,” I say. “It’s out of your control now. You’ve done you’re best and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

But what I really mean is this: Don’t worry, I’ll worry for you. Will I ever stop worrying? I’d like to say yes, but then I’d be lying.

The waiting is the hardest part

Every day you see one more card

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart

The waiting is the hardest part

(Tom Petty)