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It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

woman wearing a barrel as a dress

In exactly one week, my youngest daughter will graduate from high school. Just like that, our years of compulsory education will be behind us, and I’ll be the mother of three college students. I’ll be the one starting a new fashion trend in celebration of paying three college tuitions:

woman wearing a barrel as a dress

Keepin’ it real – we’ve been on the Struggle Bus since the start of the pandemic, with each member of my family navigating challenges both familiar (school burnout) and new (social isolation) and for a while there, we basically went feral. My soon-to-be graduate attended her senior year of classes in her bedroom, and by the end of the first semester, she was basically staying in her pajamas all day and keeping vampire-like hours. She *is* graduating, but only because she’s doing well in the two classes she needs for graduation credit. The rest of her schedule is a washout, and you know? We don’t care.

I’m glad the school has been able to offer a few traditional events for our seniors. My daughter gleefully attended prom with a group of friends, and has been beaming ever since – she needs in-person interactions with her people, and now that she’s fully vaccinated, as are most of her friends, this summer is looking up.

She’ll be able to do in-person classes (crossing fingers) at the Junior College next year, was already planning to retake some of the subjects she’s bombing this year as a JC freshman, so you know, she’s got a foundation. GLASS HALF FULL!

I ordered a graduation lei and an ice cream cake. We’re as ready as we’re gonna be, and I can’t really muster up any wistful, sad feelings about my baby growing up right now. No, right now, I’m crossing my fingers that one of my “nice” outfits is forgiving enough for my quarantine-enhanced figure and trying to remember where I put my stash of acrylic paints so my daughter can paint a rock for the Senior Rock Garden. I’m not sure how big the rocks are supposed to be, and we do have some landscaping boulders at home, so this could be her chance to REALLY make a statement. Honestly, the whole idea of the Rock Garden is lovely, but my brain keeps conjuring up the stoning scene from Life of Brian:

women wearing beards holding stones from the movie Life of Brian

We ARE hoping that she breaks our kids’ tradition of bombing the first year of college, and then pulling it together. Nothing like paying for classes twice, amirite? In great news, my oldest daughter is finishing her final GE classes at the JC this spring and transferring to Sonoma State University in the fall, and we’re so proud – she’s got her AA in Anthropology, and plans to pursue a BA and then a MA so she can become a Cultural Resource Manager. While I’d support her pursuing her interests no matter what, I’m pretty glad she’s moved on from her early-teen goals of being a mortician.

My son, despite still loving dinosaurs with all his heart, has realized that he just didn’t love pursuing a hard science degree, and has simultaneously fallen in love with the idea of living and working in Japan one day. He’s getting straight As, working on a communications AA and wants to transfer to San Francisco State University in a year, and also do a year abroad in Japan (taking classes in Japanese!) If you’ll remember, this is the kid who spent the final years of high school being dragged to the finish line, courtesy of me jamming two fingers up his nostrils and putting my back into hauling his happy ass to the end of the line. I’m so proud of him, and he’s proud of himself, too.

Hey, Jenny from 2017 who has just spent an entire weekend brow-beating your kid into finishing a stack of worksheets and a long term project that he had a whole semester to complete but started yesterday? He will figure it out eventually. Also, he has ADHD and so do you, so this stuff you think is normal? Hahahaha NO. You’ll figure that out, too. It’s gonna be fine.