December 20, 2009

Elsa is accepted at Wesleyan!

On December 11 at 3pm, Wesleyan posted admission results for ED1 applicants for the class of 2014. Of course, the email that provided us with that information ended up in Elsa's spam. How I learned this is another story.

For our family, learning Elsa's results was going to be tricky. I work at school, planning out and typing up our weekly homework sheet on Fridays with my colleagues until 6pm or so. Elsa is dismissed from school at 1:30, but often stays after school on Fridays for her Irish History class which she is taking in preparation for her trip to Ireland in March. I really wanted to be with her when she learned her admission results, but I didn't know how this could be possible. I was very worried about her disappointment, rejection and feeling awful if the news was bad or very bad. But I also wanted to share the joy with her if the news was good-after all, the college application process took over a year of hard work, worry and stress for both of us. I was worried, too, about the champagne factor: to buy or not to buy? If we bought some prior to learning Elsa's results, might the champagne have been a jinx if the results were bad or very bad? On the other hand, if we held off and the news was good, would we want to schlep out to cold, depressing, Cortelyou Road to get some at a happy moment? Neither option seemed right. Clearly this was going to take some planning.

Elsa was clear: she didn't want to get her results at school. She needed the privacy of her own home. She decided, bravely, to essentially wait, to stay after school for her Ireland class and then rush home to log on to the Wesleyan web site by 4 pm instead of 3. How mature! On Thursday, the day before, I snuck a cold bottle of champagne into the back of the fridge. I figured it this way: if Elsa didn't know it was there, it wouldn't jinx her result, but would be there, chilled, if we needed it on Friday. About work, I explained my situation to my colleagues and we wrote our homework sheet on Thursday. Doing so helped keep me busy rather than calculating the hours until the results were posted. I was able to leave school Friday at 3:30 precisely. Jonathan held me up a bit and caused me some serious stress, but that's another story as well.

All day Friday, I watched the clock. I tried to keep myself busy and refused to think about 3pm. I have no idea how Elsa got through the day. I'll have to ask her. Around 3:05 I began to feel nauseous and wondered how on earth I would comfort my baby girl if she were rejected from her dream school. As we approached our house in the car, we saw Elsa and her friend Julia running down the street behind our house. We pulled over and Elsa and Julia hopped in the car. "Hurry up!" Elsa squealed.

When we pulled into the driveway, Elsa flew out of the car and into the house. Julia followed. Elsa left the front door standing open and dropped her coat and bag in the entryway. She scrambled to her computer in the dining room and opened it. I had read the advice of other parents purposely keeping their distances and giving their children space while they logged on. So, I stood in the next room, the living room where I could clearly see Elsa, but was not standing over her. I waited as she typed. It was taking a while. She was studying the screen. I decided to hang up my coat and then return to my spot. She typed some more. I waited nervously. I decided to hang up my purse. "What's my Wes ID?" she hollered. I had no idea, even though I had memorized it. It's six digits and has an 8 in it. I rattled off something. It was wrong. Elsa typed in more numbers.

Elsa studied the screen. She read silently. She said nothing. This was torture. I decided that I would definitely vomit. I gave up waiting and went to hang up her coat when she screamed, "I got in!" Then we all screamed. Elsa leaped towards me. Julia, Elsa and I grabbed each other and just bellowed. The cats ran off. The dog barked. Elsa burst into tears. Then she began to run through the house screaming, "I can't believe it-I got in!"

Jonathan sat down at the computer to read aloud the actual acceptance letter, but no one was listening. We were screaming and Elsa was crying and hugging Julia. I went into the kitchen and dug out the chilled champagne. I opened it and struggled to find four glasses. Elsa was texting by this time, carefully telling her news and asking about others' results.

We made a toast. We printed the letter. I read it four or five times more, folded it, and put it in my pocket. Several times that evening and the next day, I read the letter over again.

Elsa had made the right decision about Wesleyan ED1 and Middlebury Posse. She followed her gut and called it right.

Thank you Wesleyan!
Good work, Elsa!

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