It’s Time to Start Freshman Year

I was in a room full of people, but I never felt more alone.

orientation We attended Jazz’s freshman orientation last week.

It was just me and Jazz. Kevin had band practice so couldn’t go.

Dude simply curled his lip when I asked him if he wanted to tag along. He’s an upper-classman now. He’d rather have his hair cut than hang out with a freshman. (And that, my friends, is saying A LOT).

Jazz didn’t WANT to go.

I made him. It’s a rite of passage. He’ll never be a freshman again (let’s hope, anyway). This would be his last orientation. It was a milestone in his life; I didn’t want him to miss it.

We should have skipped it.

Jazz didn’t want to go because he’d already sat through Dude’s orientation and then he had to sit through the spiel yet again for some band function, so to say we knew what was coming … well, would be to say we knew what was coming.

We knew it would be in the gym. (check)

We knew there would be a PowerPoint presentation. (there was)

We knew it would be a boring PowerPoint presentation. (it was)

We knew it would be incredibly hot (Man, was it ever. My water-proof mascara actually melted off my lashes and plopped onto my light-colored shirt. I was quite annoyed).

We knew there would be a lot of people. (A lot of people, yes. But jammed packed? No.)

We knew that the A+ coordinator would take the longest amount of time and would likely lose most of the audience with her confusing explanations and rules. (She did. And I STILL don’t fully understand how that program works.)

However, what I didn’t know, or anticipate, was the fact that Jazz wouldn’t want anything to do with me.


I tried not to let it hurt my feelings. After all, we’ve reached that part of the road where it’s really uncool to sit with mom. I get it. I suppose I should embrace the fact that he’s ready to be independent of me.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it hurt, just a smidgen, when I tried to get him to sit next to me and he completely ignored me to go sit with his friends.


So. There I sat. Alone and lonely. All by my lonesome. Trying to act interested and yet trying not to appear too world weary in front of the first-time freshman parents.

And trying not to be bored out of my cotton-picking mind.

Instead of listening, I spent my time observing the various people around me, without making it look like, you know, I was staring at them and being all creepy stalker-ish.

No easy feat, let me tell ya.

I observed several emotions: anticipation, eagerness, boredom, apprehension, excitement, confusion, fear, sadness, nostalgia, pride … etc., really, the list goes on. I remember feeling all of those things whenever Dude started high school.

But I didn’t feel any of those things this go-around.

I just felt annoyance.

I wanted the dang thing to be over with. I was ready to move on and get his schedule. I was anxious to find his rooms. I wanted to step back into my son’s needed arena and feel important in his life once again.

I was also annoyed with Kevin.

He could have skipped practice. And to be fair to the man, he was fully prepared to skip it. But Jazz insisted that it was okay. That it was no big deal. That he didn’t really care if he was there or not.

But was it? A big deal, I mean. I don’t want to deliberately down play these milestones in Jazz’s life just because we’ve been through them already with Dude. These milestones were old news to us, but they were new and exciting to Jazz.

I just don’t want Jazz to grow up and look back on this period in his life and regret the fact that Kevin and I were so blasé about the big stuff in his life.

He says he doesn’t care now? But what will he tell his therapist years from now? (I’m kidding … I hope).

So, I was a bit annoyed that Kevin wasn’t there. I wasn’t annoyed that he missed the introductions and the RAH RAH GO FRESHMEN speech, but that he was going to miss the awkward trying to find classes thing. There’s always a memory or two to be had from that experience and this time around was no exception.

Where was I …

Oh yeah. Orientation was over and like cattle, we shuffled our way to the various tables they had set up in the hallways. We passed the PTSA table, the table jammed packed with t-shirts that read “Fear the Poo” and “What happens at (name of school) stays at (name of school)”. We all squeezed into the cafeteria and upon our exit, encountered all of the club tables. Once we cleared the clubs, we came across the sports’ tables (yawn) until we finally pooled into the administration portion of the building where they had about ten tables crammed into about a 12 x 12 space.

Aargh! It was already hot in the building. And I was feeling faint from people’s body odor to begin with, it only magnified when I reached this section.

To top it off, the lines curled into each other. So, the schedule line literally ran THROUGH the locker line. So, people were beyond confused. And I got stuck behind a dude who was as big as I was and periodically stepped on my toes (accidentally — or was it??) so by the time we finally reached the woman handing out schedules, my entire foot was dead.

They had divided the schedules up into two sections:

A – L section was this table.

M – Z section was that table.

And there was only ONE person manning each table.

Aargh! Do you KNOW how long that took?? When there were about 400 students waiting to pick up their schedules? I’d say about 30 minutes, if I had been keeping track of the time and not keeping my eye on the toe-stomping guy in front of me.

Finally, FINALLY, we reached the woman and Jazz asked for his schedule.

And the woman looked through her stack of papers and couldn’t find it.

I went postal and starting thrashing about like a wild, insane monkey and Jazz died of embarrassment and disowned me right there and then.

Okay, not really. I was just seeing if you were paying attention.

The woman’s lips curled into a feral snarl as she handed over his schedule and then she roughly pushed us out of the way and snapped at us like a rabid dog. I was quite alarmed and not just a bit scared of her wicked, and very sharp-looking teeth. (I think there was spittle involved, but I can’t be sure. Everything happened so fast).

Okay, not really. But Jazz DID finally get his schedule and we promptly moved out of the chaos to make room for the people behind us.

And in all seriousness, THAT was one of the biggest reasons the place was like a human sardine can: kids and parents got their schedules and then just stood, in the middle of the freaking room, and effectively blocked an already convoluted mess. I really did feel like screaming at them to move their butts.

Honestly, some people are so clueless.

Jazz and I then walked around the school to locate his classes. He had one class upstairs, in the new science wing, but the powers that be had the upper level blocked off so we didn’t find his first class, and his study hall room was a bit of a challenge to locate (unlike the other rooms that had their numbers prominently displayed on nice plaques outside their door, his study hall room had the room number etched into the wood above the door, in ball point ink. WTH?). But other than that, no problem. We were good to go.

We didn’t stick around long enough to get a locker.

1. Because we didn’t feel like navigating the insane crowd again.

2. The school requires that you have your locker mate PRESENT whenever you sign up for a locker. And considering Dude and Jazz were planning on sharing a locker and there was no way in Hades you would catch Dude at a freshman event, I knew there would be trouble trying to get one, so we didn’t even try.

*mumblemumble-stupid rule-mumblemumble*

So, Dude and I went back to the school the next day and they gave him a locker to share with Jazz. WHY they couldn’t do that the previous day is beyond my feeble comprehension. I’m sure there’s a reason for it …. forget it. It’s a stupid rule, no matter how you look at it.

So, Jazz is now officially ready to begin his freshman year in high school. I can’t believe we’re reached this point. I’ve been laughingly referring to the “day I have both boys in high school” for years and *POOF*, suddenly, here we are.

School begins next Tuesday. So in the meantime, I still have one full week with my boys.

And I will smother them with so much love and attention they will be begging to go back to school.