The Acceptance Letter

Never in my life have I been more nervous for one of my children.  I knew this day was coming, I just didn’t realize how hard it would hit me.  Today is the day we got a letter from Zach’s first, and only, choice of colleges.

He wasn’t home when the mail came so I did what any reasonable, rational mama would do under the circumstances – I texted him a picture of the envelope while he was at school.  I apologize to any and all teachers I offended with my last sentence, but you have to understand, I was leaving to go pick up Claire from school and I didn’t want Zach to make other plans.  I needed him to come home and open the letter.  I had no intention of opening the letter.  I needed him to get here so he could open it.

He had to come home and open that letter.  Fear seized every fiber of my being.  My gut wrenched.  My body became a conduit for the sweat coming out of every pore.  My head began to pound.  I needed to know what was in that letter.  

I knew sending him the text wasn’t the wisest move.  I knew he’d feel exactly the same way I felt, only multiplied by 100.  It wasn’t fair to do to him, but I couldn’t help myself.  I reacted in a way I never thought I would, or at least hoped I wouldn’t.  I thought I’d remain calm, cool and collected, but I turned into a basket case.

I raced out the door to get Claire as my phone sounded with text tone.  It was Zach.  In all caps, two words  “NO WAY”  I told him the letter was on the kitchen counter and that I’d be home as soon as I could.  His response was “I’m so fricking nervous.”  Me too, Zach, me too.

It was a brutal 40 minute round trip ride to get Claire, but I had already given her a head’s up that we needed to get back to the house as quickly as possible.  Her nerves were jangling as she raced to the car.  Her emotions ratcheted up about a thousand more notches as she fed off the vibes rolling off of me.

I had both responses ready for whatever was contained in the letter, at least I thought I did.  I had my conciliatory plan worked out in my head in case the letter was a deferment.  I had, what I thought, was my excited self ready to rock and roll.  I thought I was prepared to deal with whatever way the letter lead me.

Zach called me as we were on the last of the main roads back to our house.  With a catch in my voice, I answered, “Hey, Zach!” wondering if he was going to tell me the news contained in the letter.

My relief was palpable as he said, “Are  you home?”

I knew if he was asking me whether or not I was home, he wasn’t and he didn’t know anything.  “No, I’m three minutes from home.  Where are you?”

“I’m just pulling into our neighborhood now.  I don’t want to open the letter alone.  I want you here with me,” he said.

My throat constricted and tears filled my eyes as I responded, “I’m right behind you.”

He was walking up the front walkway with his arm raised to us in greeting as we whipped into the driveway.  I opened the garage door and we met in the kitchen where the letter sat.  Waiting.

Zach put his head down on the counter and heaved a great sigh.  He lifted his head, carefully slid open the envelope and pulled out the folder, opened it and began to read…

He let out the biggest, giantest (yes, I know it’s not a word), loudest whoop.  I only needed to see the words on the right side of the folder “Offer of Appointment” and I knew.  He did it!  He made it in to first, and only, choice of schools.  He swooped me up and hugged tight!  We both laughed, we cried, we heaved big sighs of relief.  Claire stood behind us, I could hear her sharp intake of breath.  I could hear her soft sigh of relief and I could feel her tears of joy.  Our hug became a circle with the three of us.  She was a proud of Zach as I was.  The hoots, the hollers, the high fives continued.  Lucas soon came home and the process began all over again.  The little brother and little sister beamed and beamed and beamed.  Their pride in Zach was etched in the giant grins they wore on their faces.  Stan’s phone call came through with the “I love yous” and the “I’m so proud of yous.”  The celebration continues on as I write.  

I said above, I thought I was prepared to deal with whatever way the letter inside that envelope led me.  I was wrong.  My emotions hit me stronger and harder than I ever imagined.

Proud. Joyous.  Sad.  Elated.  Awed.  Ecstatic. Excited.  Glad.  Happy. Scared.  Relieved.  Wonderful.   Peaceful.

If you take all of the emotions you have after having a baby, and after counting it’s fingers and toes, knowing it’s healthy, seeing the same baby walk for the first time, talk for the first time, run, jump, laugh, play and grow up a little day by day, and you multiple by a zillion that’s how I felt today.

I thought I was ready to deal with whatever happened once the letter was opened, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the massive onslaught of emotions.  I’m drained, but the pride and happiness I have for Zach, and his achieving his goal, grows bigger minute by minute.  This is the first big step he’ll take to realizing his dream of what he wants to be when he grows up.  The acceptance letter proves it.

Oh, for the love of my children…

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