I did not think of this as a milestone. I thought of it as a necessity for her and a bit of an irritation for me having to get up early on Saturday. We got there early, found her room number for the test, and sat in the cafeteria with all the other kids and parents waiting for the signal to move to the test rooms.
We started talking about how it feels to take this test including the nerves and expectations, and the outcomes and possibilities it can unlock for her. I told her how I had to take the test in a city away from where I lived because I had been in some competition the day it was given near my home. I drove another kid to the test – a wrestler – who had also missed our hometown test due to a wrestling match. I said I didn’t think he was as nervous as I was because he didn’t expect to get a very high score. I also remembered walking out to my car that morning and finding someone had dumped jars of mustard onto the paint as a prank so we had to drive to the test with a ‘mustard mural’ on the car. It smelled bad when we came out of the test and the sun was melting it. Funny how that memory came back to me today.
Big One went off to the test and I walked out to the car. Surprise tears popped into my eyes. I never thought of this as a milestone, but here it was. A test she will take, a score she will receive, a list of schools who will accept her based on this morning’s activities. Those schools could be far away, and she might be interested in going to them.
It was all just talk before. Now the rubber is hitting the road and my heart fell between the two. I am proud of her and raised her to grow up and be confident and pull away from me. Sure sounds better in theory than it feels as it happens.
When I pick her up, I’ll smile and ask how she did and tell her how proud I am. She won’t know about the tears and the fears…until she has a Big One of her own.