Easier Said Than Done: A Mom’s Perspective

Ben’s first choice college is Emerson College in Boston. It’s on the corner of Boston Common in the theater district, right next to Chinatown. Full of about 5,000 artistic kids who make films, perform musical theater, write novels, and create comedy sketches. He spent 5 weeks there this past summer working on 16mm films — using old cameras with real film, sending it off to be developed, and cutting and editing it with his own hands. He met professors and other students who were his people. In short, he fell in love.

So he applied early action on November 1 and found out yesterday that they had made a decision. Sort of. He was deferred. If this were a rom com, he would have just declared his love only to have her say “let me think about it.”

What’s “deferred”? It means that he didn’t get in early, but that his application will be put into the regular pool of applicants. He’ll find out if he’s in or not by April 1. So not a no, but not a yes.

He’s being pretty cool about it. I, on the other hand, am not.

In spite of everything I tell my students and their parents about there being a path for us all and that and it might not lead the way we always want it to, I’m pissed. I’m hurt. And I want to be an angry Mama Bear fighting for my cub. I want to call up Emerson and tell them that they’re crazy. That he’s talented and ambitious and they’d be lucky to get him. And that they’re big stupid meanies.

But I can’t. This is his path. I have to sit on the sidelines. And it’s freaking killing me.

I know all about those life lessons we want to teach our kids. Resilience. Grit. Blah blah blah. Still, when it comes to your kid, that kind of logic sometimes goes out the window.

I’ll be by his side for this journey. He still wants to keep his application in their regular pool, so I’ll encourage him to talk to his college counselor at school and send his fall grades (which are, thankfully, much better than any other semester in high school). I’ll help him figure out which academic teacher he can ask for another recommendation. And I’ll be the cheerleader jumping highest when he tells them that his Emerson film from this summer was accepted into two festivals and took second place in the largest category.

And no matter what happens, at the end I’ll do what I always do: love him no matter what and wait to see how this movie ends.

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