These are the last few days that The Question will continue to reside in the domain of possibilities, what might be, what you hope will be, before its answer hardens into regret or what should have been. I have stopped listening to the sense of comparative wonderment in even the most polite of questioners–what I want is fierce in my heart, but I cannot admit to this.
Anybody else would not hesitate for an instant to change places with me–a son poised to enter the most prestigious and elite level of education in this country, a younger daughter bright and talented: but I can’t hold on to these things as everything there is for me. I want to have the pride in their successes and transcend it, too.
I know now how intrusive asking that question to last year’s crop of mothers with sons and daughters in the college quest. How genuine I felt in the asking–I did really care, maybe not so much about where their kid was going to go, but, as I realize now with embarrassment, how their victories or defeats might affect MY son–isn’t that genuine enough? How tough and brutal this competition is.