We're more than a month into Em's senior year. OF HIGH SCHOOL. You could knock me over with a feather, people.
This means it's time to think about the next step. The college step. The step that turns every innocent conversation into a trap in which you find yourself yourself and your kid being compared to your friends and their kids, or your friends' friends and those friends' friends kids. My skin is too thin for this shit. So if you talk to me about college and I snap at you as if I were a dog and you just stepped on my tail? That's why. It's because you think you're asking innocent questions ("What's her GPA?" "How many times has she taken the SAT/ACT?") but I'm hearing "Why didn't you make her study more?" or "Oh. Well. That's…nice." or "My kid's way smarter and now I don't have to worry about your kid being competition for him. Yay!"
One of the things people are talking about are extracurriculars. ("My son is volunteering at a homeless shelter" becomes, in my head, "What the hell has your daughter been doing all this time?" which becomes "Boy, you really DO suck as a mom." My head is a super fun place to be!) Em's done a fair amount of volunteer work over the years, working for a couple of seasons with a special-needs soccer team, as a helper at the Religious School N went to, and as a counselor at a Girl Scouts camp in our neighborhood. But she a) is terrible at follow through so has no documentation of the first of these things and b) has had one all-consuming passion for the past three or so years, which she has pursued single-mindedly.
And that bring me to the other kind of drama. The literal kind.
So, this year Em is taking five classes. Two of them? Drama. One's the school's 'top' drama class, the one in which you're not supposed to audition for you're not willing to essentially eat, sleep, breathe, and DREAM theater.
Em? Eats, sleeps, breathes, dreams, and then dreams SOME MORE about theater. So yeah, she's in that class.
Her second drama class is a kind of directors' workshop; they spend some of the time being instructed on what directing is and how it is best achieved…by an instructor who originated one of the main roles on Broadway in one of the most well-known musicals of all time. In other words, an impressive woman. Em is beside herself. The rest of the time they spend as TAs in the other classes, directing small groups in scenes to be done in showcases or at theater festivals around LA.
That pretty much IS her dream.
But wait. There's more. She's also on the varsity squad for her school's Comedy Sportz team, which rehearses at least once a week and plays a game a couple times a month. She's also their social media manager, maintaining the team's Facebook page and other such things.
Oh, and she's copresident of the school's Thespian Society chapter, and has been named an honors thespian.
I'm probably missing some stuff, too.
So now you're thinking: Um. That stuff up there about college? And how you feel like you and your kid are a couple of slackers? You're such a hypocrite.
Well, yeah. It's possible that there's a grain of truth in there. Em's got depth, that's for sure. She has a demonstrated passion for theater, no doubt. And since I've finally admitted (because even my River Denial ain't deep enough for me to pretend otherwise) that she's going to major in some aspect of theater, that may help with getting into college. But there are still issues. She has the depth, but she didt go to a specialty theater school, so won't get that same kind of attention. And she han't so much on the breadth. Nor so much on the 4.0+/top 10 percent of your class that are needed for so many schools. Nor so much on the studying for the goddamned SATs. (Grrrr.) I'm hoping that, in the end, all of this will mean she winds up where she is 'meant' to go, where she'll thrive. But we've started touring colleges, and she's started falling in love. And I want her to go where she wants to go. So I worry. A lot. Though I need to stop.
Here comes the drama. Long live drama.