Early anxiety about graduation

We have been getting invitations for graduation parties for Sassy Saint’s friends. While I am thrilled that these children have achieved graduation, it also reminds me Sass will be graduating in two years. That’s just over 700 days or 16,800 hours.

This time next year, I’ll be scheduling senior photos.

Excuse me for a moment while I hyperventilate.

I am not the only person concerned about this. The (Not-So) Little Professor is concerned Sass may go far away for college. They are close, and she is the one person who can get him to talk when something is bothering him. He’s expressed some anxiety about this, and while I do my best to comfort him, I also am having trouble envisioning day-to-day life without Sass.

We will get out the door earlier in the morning. And my books won’t find new homes in her bedroom. She won’t steal my T-shirts or drink all my cranberry juice.

I guess I can imagine her away at college? It’s a place where I’m on time and have plenty of cranberry juice.

And where I am sad and wondering how many times a day is appropriate to text your college-aged child without encouraging a crippling emotional co-dependency. Is five times a day OK if they’re short texts? How many texts do you add or subtract if you speak to your child on the phone that day? Is it weird to look into setting up a Skype account if your child is attending college only an hour away? If you Skype, does that wipe out your text and call allowance for the day? How much contact is too much? How do you encourage independence, yet maintain the needed support so your child can become a functioning adult capable of healthy relationships?

I have questions, and there is no manual. Why isn’t there a manual? There are probably a billion “you’re about to be an empty-nester and are not sure if your worries are normal or bizarrely over-the-top” books, but I hate parenting books. They fall into one of two categories. The first makes the author’s life seem like a cross between a carefully curated Pinterest board and an 80s-era sitcom that wraps up with a life lesson inspired by the mishap of the week in the last five minutes. The second are those “drunken mommy” memoirs in which the author can’t stop telling you she has her own fun life separate from the children until you start wondering if she’s pulling a Lady MacBeth and protesting too much.

Where are the books for people who don’t particularly enjoy being adults, aren’t really that good at it, but hope that their children are better at it than them? The books for people who fit their lives around study groups, practices and club meetings, but also forgot their Pinterest password? The books for the parents who are lame, but trying?

“What am I going to do?” I asked the Long Suffering Husband.

“Probably pick her up every weekend.”

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)