He’s Leaving Me

Saturday morning I had a dream that Chandler was five years-old. Even in the dream I knew Chandler wasn’t really five. “What’s five year-old Chandler doing here,” I thought to myself.

1st grade school picture

We were getting out of the car. I came around to his side and he hugged me tight, like he used to hug me. All in. He still hugs me now, but only when I ask for one. He’s so tall and skinny. His hugs are boney. He’ll hug me as long as I want, but his hugs are dutiful. The perfunctory hug of a good son.

“I love you so much, Mommy,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me and hugged me tight. Like his life depended on it.

“I love you too, Chandler,” I said as I hugged him back with equal ferocity.

We held hands as we walked inside the house and once we crossed the threshold he was eighteen year-old Chandler again.

I told him about my dream as I drove him to school to drop him off at the bus for a track meet. “I love you, Mommy,” he said sweetly. Then  he said, “I had a dream the  other night that Coach  H told me I had a five percent chance of getting in.” He was referring to the coach at his top-choice college. Not his reach school, but the school he thinks he’d most like to attend.

“That’s just a stress dream because the decisions are coming in in the next few weeks. It’s probably why I’m dreaming of you being five. Because you’re leaving me soon.” I hadn’t realized the significance of the dream until the words left my mouth.

He’s leaving me soon.

It’s March. Chandler  has applied to six colleges. The reach (where he likely won’t get in) is an hour’s drive; the rest of them are far away. Four are out of  state. The decisions will all be in by March 30th.

And then he’ll have to decide where he’s going when he leaves me.

looking back

Book Review – Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

I read a lot of books.

Okay, maybe not a lot. In my fantasy life I read a lot of books. I’m always reading something, but I’m a slow reader and only seem to have time to read before bed, and reading puts me to sleep so it takes me a really long time to read a book. Like, if someone says, “It’s a really fast read, it will take you two days,” it will probably take me two weeks.

But I digress… I read (not) a lot of books and I recommend them to my friends if I like them (You HAVE to read this book!), but so far I haven’t reviewed any on my blog. I don’t think. I’m too lazy (make that blazy) to look through my archives and check. So we’ll call this my first book review.

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy by Lacy Crawford

 

This is the story of Anne, a 27-year-old ambivalent college essay coach, and five of the students she is coaching through the college essay process. The author used to be a college essay coach herself, so she knows what she’s talking about. (Or rather writing about.) Remember when you The Devil Wears Prada and thought to yourself, “There is no way someone could treat their assistant that terribly,” but knew that there was? Or when you read The Nanny Diaries and thought, “I can’t believe there are parents that horrible,” but knew that there were? This book is like that, but about the college application process. Total insider stuff.

If you are a parent who is hoping to send your offspring to college one day, or just sent your child recently, I think you will enjoy this book immensely. And if you are like me, who is knee deep in the gut-wrenching, anxiety-inducing, nightmarishly overwhelming task of helping your child wade through The Common Application, you will love it.

If you don’t have kids, you can still read it, but I will admit that this book probably isn’t for you. (Unless you, yourself, just went through the college application process. Then trust me, you’ll dig it.)

Ms. Crawford, like our protagonist Anne, must have been very good at her job because she is one hell of a writer – this book is extremely well-written. It will piss you off, make you laugh out loud, and break your heart. It does a great job of fictionalizing the college application process, while also giving you some very good intel and insight.

Warning: You will want to hit most of the parents in the book upside the head with a very heavy laptop. On the flip side, you’ll be smugly patting yourself on the back, because you are certainly nothing like the helicopter parents and tiger moms in the book. At least I’m not. (No matter what Chandler says!)

So, if you like to read (a little or a lot) and have visions of your son or daughter attending Harvard, Stanford, or UCLA, or perhaps a highly selective liberal arts college, or even the state university ten miles away, I highly suggest reading this book. The earlier the better.