It’s now March 26th. The torture of waiting for college acceptance or rejection letters and checking the mail each day only got worse. I would have written during the past few weeks except I was in a state of such paralyzing fear and I was unable to breathe long enough to form a sentence. Last weekend was the most intense. My daughter’s entire theater program from high school participated in a weekend-long theater competition. This is a yearly event and her school always does very well. I decided to go as a chaperone being that this would be the last year for us. There are many competitions for the kids to participate in – Contemporary and classical monologues and scenes, mini and maxi musical theater categories, dance, one act plays, etc.. They even have categories for the techs and the writers. My daughter was competing in the maxi-musical category. She was Dolly (again), from Hello Dolly, and they did the scene with the dancing waiters into the Hello Dolly song. And they won first place! They were brilliant. My daughter also won third place for her Shakespearian monologue from Henry IV.
I suppose I was able to take in moments of the weekend, my beautiful daughter on stage in her bright red dress singing with twenty dancing waiters surrounding her, or listening to her perfect depiction of Lady Percy during her monologue competition. But I spent the entire time with the knowledge that this was the weekend Carnegie Mellon was making their phone calls to accepted students. This was when she would know. Each passing hour felt like an eternity and my adrenals were definitely on overload. We had a short break from the stress of waiting when we went prom dress shopping Sunday afternon. We found her the most beautiful and perfect dress and it was on sale.
As you may have guessed by now, the phone never rang. The weekend came and went. I tried to be positive but my anxiety was palpable. It wasn’t only about the college admissions. It was also about money not coming in and the bills piling up, my conflicting feelings about my business, my general fear of where my life is heading, and how can I stop all my horrible fearful thoughts from controlling me.
On Monday I went into acceptance mode. There was no phone call from Carnegie Mellon. I emailed my daughter’s college audition coach to ask her her opinion about all the schools we were waiting on. She was encouraging and also told me that out of 1700 applicants to Carnegie Mellon’s Musical Theater Program, my daughter had been among the top 100. And there is still a chance she would be wait-listed.
And then something began to shift in me. I realized that there IS one school my daughter has been admitted to, and it is right in the heart of Manhattan. And even though it is her last choice of schools, not the exact program she was hoping for, it would mean she could be living in New York, her favorite City, right in the place where she ultimately wants to live and work. She could be singing, dancing, making connections, joining a cappella groups, feeling the pulse of Broadway. I started feeling like the sun was coming out, thawing the fear that had frozen me, and I saw that I had been putting way too much into this, as if it were life and death. My daughter is alive, thriving, beautiful, and healthy. She will go to her prom, finish High School, and continue to do what she loves. She will go to college, and she will be fine. This process is not up to me. All my anxiety and frozen fear wont help her get where she wants to go.
When we both got home Monday night, I told her what I had been thinking, that no matter what happens this next week as the rest of the letters come in, she will still get to go to college, and if she doesn’t like where she ends up she can always transfer. This moment will not define the rest of her life. She admitted to me that my anxiety and fear these past several weeks had been upsetting for her. I apologized, telling her I had done my best to hide my negativity from her but I had not known how to stop it. And thankfully for now I am okay, and she is okay.
There are still a few more schools we are waiting to hear from, and we will be making decisions during the next month. But the sun is out and I know that everything will be just fine. Faith is shining in our home.