What happens when your eldest child is accepted into her first-choice Ivy League college? You let her know that you'll do everything in your power to make it happen.
The requisite college t-shirt has been bought. The housing questionnaire has been returned. The summer reading list has begun. Come late August, she'll be off to Massachusetts for orientation.
For anyone who hasn't been through the college application and admission process lately, tuition costs have outpaced the cost of living. It's not unusual for top-tier universities to charge $50,000 per year. When a student graduates, that's close to a quarter million dollars invested in his education.
Perhaps it's because I grew up in a small Southern town of 7,000 where only four other people in my graduating class went away to a four-year college. Perhaps it's because my school counselor advised me that "girls don't apply to the Naval Academy" and offered me no assistance in finding out about Advanced Placement tests or even how to register for the SAT. But with my children, my eldest, I've taken her (with the others tagging along) to schools that I would have dearly loved to have even been aware of when I was applying to colleges. I've offered her suggestions on when and how to take the SAT.
Exposing her to such things stirred her desire to apply to "reach schools" as well as "safety schools". Her reach schools weren't as much of a reach as I had worried they would be. Which now means that she's heading off to a school she fell in love with. Good for her!
Now we have to figure out how to pay for it.
That's when we call in the cavalry. That would be me. I've been a full-time mother since before my third child was born. I am the one that is the security blanket in case Hubby was ever laid off, disabled, or had to take a lesser paying job. Now, with the economy (at least where I live) on the upswing, it shouldn't be a problem to find something, anything to help cover the cost of college. Except that I haven't been in the paying workforce for 13 years and, according to a professional career counselor, my resume "is crap".
There's one other problem with the grand plan. I absolutely love the job I currently have. As my time in my current position grows short, I find myself developing a bit of melancholy. I'll miss the life I lead. I know that working for pay is yet another way of supporting my children and their desires and dreams. (Especially since the second is already looking at private universities and the third already has her heart set on one particular private college.)
In the end, I'll rise to the occasion of being the best mother my children could have. I'll pull on nylons every day and commute to an office. Perhaps between now and September I can find the perfect job for me -- Professional Mom and Wife. Stranger things have happened.