An open letter to my son (and high school seniors everywhere) as you wait to hear back from college admissions…
You called us over as you hit submit on the Common App, and then clicked the button again to amuse your dad and I, while confetti danced across your laptop screen. “It’s so different now,” you’ve heard us say no less than a million times these past few months. You did the work, you put in the effort, you put yourself out there.
And now you wait…
There are a few things that always help in the waiting.
I promise to support you during this anxious time. I’ll supply you with caffeine and your favorite snacks, remind you to take breaks from checking email, from homework and studying, and yes, even from “the snapchat,” to move, eat something healthy, and just be with us.
I promise to tell you all the annoying mom things you don’t want to hear because the time with you under my roof is fleeting and you have so much on your plate this senior year—I know you’re wrestling with enjoying it all while preparing for what’s next.
But above all else, I will sit right with you as you wait.
Not only because I love you dearly (I do), but because I’ve known who you were even before the nurse handed your nearly nine-pound swaddled towheaded self over to me. And every day since, I have watched you grow more into that person. So forgive me if I want to shout from the rooftops why any college would be lucky to have you study on their campus—they would hit the jackpot with you.
But this was not something for me to do.
I won’t get a chance to tell them all about wonderful you—
Your awards and accomplishments, your generosity and loyalty, your hard work and heart.
This is something you had to do.
And thing is you were ready. You’ve always been ready. You’ve always jumped brave with me trying not to hold you back, but just hold on for a little while longer.
When you tell us you’re not afraid of the email that starts with, I regret to inform you…or however they put it these days; when you say you can handle rejection, in fact you are prepared for it, I’ll patiently remind you everyone has a hard time hearing that type of no, and not internalizing it, not making it truth, not allowing it to change what you think about yourself.
So while you wait, I have another one of those nuggets of wisdom you appreciate so much (groan).
Celebrate the process, my son. The work you put into your applications, your essays, all the decisions you made leading to here, to now; the classes and tests you’ve taken, the challenges you’ve accepted and blown past— kid, just stepping into this arena is a major feat in and of itself.
Replace the fear with excitement, the anxiety with hopeful expectation, and stand in the fortitude of just who you are, and who you have always been. Imagine the possibility that lies ahead. Take heart in the waiting. Everything is about to change and yet, nothing really will.
So no matter the words they use to phrase it, whether it’s a yes or a no, you will still be the boy who loves to learn, cares so deeply about others and lights up a room just by being present. All of this will still be true the next minute, the next morning and the next month. Take a deep breath before you open any email to remember that this moment, like every moment, is just one moment of your precious life. No rejection or acceptance should have you questioning who you are and what you’ve been put on this remarkable planet to do. Nothing gets to have that say but you and God.
Stay rooted and grounded, son.
Maybe the path is narrowing to help point you to where you are headed. Maybe the path is widening to open you to options you never considered. Maybe it’s redirection, maybe it’s protection, maybe it just is.
Truth is, you really don’t need to know everything right now.You have time. And you have the permission to change your mind too. In fact I hope you do. It means you’re growing.
What’s true today will be true tomorrow. Not even you can undo what God has planned for you. He has destined great things for you. And with Him, you will find your way.
When you hit submit. While you wait. I’ll be here rooting for you. Because behind every application is a mom who loves her kid.
I know I sure do. And that too will never, ever change.
To all the amazing high school seniors waiting, I’m so proud of you. And to your parents trying to play it cool as they anxiously wait along with you, I’m so proud of us too.
Moms need to say rooted and grounded too. Let’s meet in your inbox on Mondays for a prayer, a pep talk, a bit of practical advice, and always a virtual hug.