Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Junior Year, Here We Go

This morning, per usual, I did a 4-mile fitness walk through our historic "Old Town," down by the harbor, along the beach, up through a pretty wooded neighborhood, and back home. It's hot and muggy now, but with the sun just coming up, it was still fairly cool. (BTW, if this daily walking thing makes me sound too healthy, rest assured I make up for it later in the day with white wine and chocolate. And sometimes cheese.)

About twenty minutes into my walk, I heard car horns and shrieking teenagers. The cacophony was coming from "the Neck," an attached peninsula filled with yacht clubs, private docks, and eensy-weensy ten-bedroom "summer cottages." The noise drifted across the harbor and, although I knew where it was coming from, it sounded like it was right next to me.

Soon, it was.

I stepped into a hedge just as a parade of thirty cars came flying around a corner. Horns blaring, noisemakers, drums, and a couple of fearless (and/or stupid) girls literally hanging out windows. They clapped and waved and yelled "WOOOO HOOOO" when they saw me.

It's the first day of school and these revelers are ... seniors.

My daughter, just a lowly junior, was still asnooze. For a moment, I worried about where she'll be and what she'll be doing (and whose car she'll be in) next year. But, I try to say in the moment. There are plenty of worries to deal with in the here and now. Never mind the there and then.

This year promises to be difficult and dramatic. Supposedly, colleges look at junior year as the best indicator of how a student will do after high school. (I guess freshman and sophomore years are just the warmup, and senior year — if this morning's spectacle is any indication — is a total write-off.) We'll ... I mean, she'll ... I mean we'll be juggling two AP courses, a full workload of honors and college prep, plus horse shows and training, and two part-time jobs. We'll start visiting schools in earnest. And, naturally, her social life will comprise high highs and low lows. Why aim for moderation when you're almost seventeen?

We'll have plenty of late nights of angst, I have no doubt. But, I expect we'll survive. Most families do.

Therefore ... it's a bright and shiny new school year, and I for one am happy to have it arrive already. (This summer was a bit of a bear. House guests and homework and SAT Prep, oh my!)

So, happy new year to all. I wish you good friends in the cafeteria, teachers with a sense of humor, and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com.

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