Friday, May 18, 2012

I think I have milestone fatigue

Yesterday, Terry and I spent nearly seven hours at Cleveland State University for Elissa's college orientation. She signed her first-ever college housing contract, selected a meal plan, and started to make the friends who will have a lasting effect on her four-year undergraduate experience.

Tonight is Elissa's prom. She and Sean will attend the dance and then go to the after-prom activities, and they will of course remember the night for the rest of their lives.

Today is also Elissa's last day of classes as a high school student. Starting Monday she will engage in a two-week senior project working in the marketing department at Great Lakes Mall, with the goal of gaining a taste of real-life work experience.

Two weeks from today, Elissa will graduate from high school, wearing her cap and gown and walking off the stage with the diploma for which she has worked since the age of 5.

I'm not sure I can keep up with everything.

More than once, I've mentioned how much I enjoy having a senior in high school. It's a fun and exhausting experience, with enough highs and lows (both physical and emotional) to fill a thousand pages in the kids journal Terry maintains and even remembers to update every few years.

But now that we're near the end of it, I think I'm running out of steam. The last six weeks or so of senior year are so crammed with life achievements and memorable milestones, you as a parent start to take them for granted. And I suspect Elissa may be doing the same.

Yes, these are things we'll all remember forever. But right now they just seem routine. It shouldn't be that way, but when everything comes this fast and this furious, you lose a little perspective.

You know what it reminds me of? My game show experience. (NOTE: You know how I deny it every time Terry accuses me of deliberately bringing up the game show thing in conversation or on this blog? Well, she may be right on this one.)

But seriously, it reminds me of my "Millionaire" and "Price Is Right" appearances. When you're thrust into the middle of an experience like that, it doesn't seem real after awhile. Instead of trying to process the strangeness of what you're doing, your mind instead turns it into a mundane experience. "Why, yes, Bob Barker, I'm CONSTANTLY playing cheesy pricing games for the chance to win a new car and a trip to Tahiti. It gets so boring sometimes. Why do you ask?"

It's the same thing when dealing with this particular phase of my 18-year-old daughter's life, which is kind of a shame. Maybe if they spaced these things out a little more over the school year, I would appreciate them more. But then I suppose that would take something away from it all. Part of the fun, at least for the student, is the pace of events that make up your 12th-grade year.

I'm glad summer vacation is upon us, if only because it gives us a chance to catch our breaths, enjoy the warm days, and take it easy for awhile.

That is, of course, after we get past Elissa's graduation party. And soccer camp in mid-June. And the family mini-vacation we're planning. And Fourth of July activities. And our annual trip to church Bible school. And summer sports practices.

I seriously need a nap.

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