One of the lamest qualities about me is that I bawl like an idiot every time I watch Toy Story 3. I’ve seen it about a hundred times thanks to #1′s obsession with trains. (What the hell is it with trains and kids?!?!? Homeboy is fascinated by the “flying train” in the opening sequence. What I’m fascinated by is my amazing luck when I was perusing the toy aisle at TJ Maxx and found the playset for this very scene for only $7.99 just in time for Christmas 2011. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.)
The other day, #1 was sitting on my lap and we were watching Toy Story 3 together. John came in and freaked out. “What’s wrong?!?!” he said as he saw me all teary-eyed. Then he looked at the TV and rolled his eyes. “You’re ridiculous,” he said, and went on about his business.
How’s that for sympathetic.
I have been freaking out about my son leaving for college since he was about six months old. I remember when I went off to college. My mom dropped me off. She said goodbye to me, walked out of my dorm building, and hopped into a cab. It was tragically cinematic to me. Yeah, yeah, no one died or anything, but it seemed like a big deal to me so I went back to my room and cried and cried until my new roommates showed up and I was all of a sudden that cool, collected Republican from SoCal (that’s a whole ‘nother story).
Anyway, for some reason, saying goodbye to my mom is one of those sad moments in my life. Bittersweet is probably a better word. I was so ready for NY when I left. So much so that when I finally got to NY, I felt a peace that I had never felt in my entire life. I still feel that way when I go back there to visit. But when I left NY for good, I did not want to live there anymore. As a mother of small children, I still do not want to live there. I don’t have the balls to rear children in the city and have a deep respect for those who do. I do look forward to taking #1 there to visit, hopefully next year. He’s going to TRIP OUT when he sees the subway system.
And that’s where we’re at now. He’s getting bigger and the nightmare of our last plane trip (Cancun when he was 14 months old) and my accompanying PTSD are fading. I’m actually thinking about traveling 3000 miles with this kid, by myself, because he’s getting OLDER. He’ll be starting kindergarten in July. It’s official. We’ve decided on an excellent public school which has an amazing track record with language arts, and pretty much everything else.
But it’s the beginning of the end. He’ll start El Kinder in July. We’ll blink, and he’ll be an eleventh grader telling me how he wants to be an English major at a tiny liberal arts college. And then we’ll get into a big fight about it. It’ll go something like this.
“I’m going to study English at Reed.”
“Because you need to become a doctor. Preferably a surgeon.”
“But I hate science! I want to be a writer!”
“Writer?!? Are you on drugs?!? The path of the writer is one of doom and destruction! Who the hell taught you this? Where did you learn this?”
“I learned it from watching you!”
Silence on my part. Note to self: Get a new career before #1 is aware of what I do for a living.
Anyway, it’s going to go by really fast. This makes me sad. That’s why I cry every time I watch Toy Story 3. Well, I also cry because I have a weird guilt about throwing out my toys. I always thought they had feelings too, and the movie pretty much validates that. (Let’s ignore the fact that it’s an animated movie, not a documentary. It makes no difference to me.)
If #1 tells me on the day of his high school graduation that he has decided to not go to college, the conversation will go like this:
“I have decided to take some time off.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m not going to go to college.”
Deep breath. “Okay. There are a bunch of boxes in garage.”
“What are those for?”
“I love you. You have 30 days to move out. You don’t have to go to college but you can’t stay here. Good luck.”