2013 has been a terrible, awful, wonderful year for me as a mother. I've tried to treasure every single terrible, awful, wonderful moment of it because my only child is high school senior and he's leaving me next year to go to college.
But I think I've pulled it off well - or at least I haven't completely humiliated my son or myself. Let's see how I did:
January: I managed not to cry while sitting next to my son as he reviewed lists of colleges that were more than 50 miles away from me. I also managed not to try to bribe him into going to closer colleges. Okay, fine. I might have tried one little bribe. But he's my only child!
February: I managed not to laugh hysterically when my son saw a dorm room for the first time, as well as the shared bathroom. Trust me when I say that the look on an only child's face when he discovers that he has to share a bathroom with everyone on the same floor is priceless.
March - April: I managed not to cry when paying for his SAT coach and SAT test.
May - June: I managed not to go into hyper, micromanage mode while he was studying for finals and scream, "it's junior year! It's so important! Drill! Drill!"
July: I managed not to cry in front of him when the school sent its first mailer to "Parents of Seniors." I did, however, hide in the pantry and cry into a sack of potatoes.
August: Okay, seriously. I totally cried when he was taking senior pictures. But I covered with the old standby "I have something in my eye." Yeah. It helped that most of the other mothers there had something in their eyes, too.
September: I sobbed like a baby when I looked in my empty wallet after paying for graduation announcements, class ring, team photos, yearbook, ASB card, senior parking spot, senior class t-shirt, senior class panorama photo, senior dinner, and the senior quote for the yearbook.
October: I managed not to cry when the college applications were sent off. I also managed not to cry as the first acceptance came in. Oh, whatever. You know I sobbed with happiness. And relief. Those potatoes are never going to dry out.
November - December: I managed to get through the end of the year without crying despite the many "How to Pay for College without Breaking the Bank" seminars I attended.Trust me when I say if those don't make you cry, you can get through anything.
And now, at the end of my terrible, awful, wonderful year I can honestly say, 2014 is going to be worse. Because that's the year he actually leaves. And I just don't know how many more tears the potatoes can take.
Laurie Sontag is a California newspaper columnist who also writes the blog, Manic Motherhood. You can find her on Facebook or in the pantry, letting the potatoes know they have a wet year ahead of them.