Reconnecting with an old love

by Mémé

Every now and then I’ll come across an article that stirs a memory or just have a stray thought and search FB for a long lost friend. About a year ago I did that and found my first boyfriend from sophomore year of high school. His current picture was not much to look at, but I did see an old photo on his public page that reminded me of how handsome he had been. I sent him a message (which goes into Facebook purgatory unless you pay money) and said, well, if he ever finds it I’ll hear from him. He did reply six months later, we did a heartfelt “friend”, and I decided to schedule a meet up on my recent trip to DC.

We sat in a coffee shop for 2 hours and caught up on the 43 years since we last ran into each other. We didn’t reminisce much about high school because we only went out for six months and went on with our lives. However, he is the only guy other than my two husbands that is at the level of “in love” for me.

I am still processing the experience. I felt awkward after a while, not for romantic reasons, but because my life turned out so much better than his. There was no increase in heart rate, although at one point he cocked his head just so and I caught a glimpse of the boy inside the man. He has a quiet responsible life, late marriage with youngest kid 20 years old, not happy in his marriage, middle class and tied to working as long as he is able, but his conversation was full of regrets about the road not taken`, recounting all sorts of recent sad events – not bitter, just resigned and a bit hard on himself. He never finished college because he went off the rails at 21 for a year or two and was just afraid of risk after that. (I guess it turns out he is a depressive, too. I am three for three.) I took a 15 year hiatus from myself from age 26 to 41 and lived through some tough luck, but I got myself back. He just figured out how to get by. I did ask him if his grand passion, a fabulous artistic woman he fell for at 17 and whose eventual rejection sent him into a tailspin, prevented him from moving on personally. He loved her like a guy in a tragic romance novel to a degree I have never again encountered from a man in real life. He said to me, I don’t think so, that’s an interesting observation. Still, my wife did ask me to burn all the pictures from that era (he just hid them). Ya think?

Totebaggers, please share your experiences of going back to the past, happy or not. Do you have any desire to track down old friends?

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147 thoughts on “Reconnecting with an old love

  1. Now I have a couple of songs stuck in my head:

    Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and Steely Dan’s “What a Shame About Me”.

  2. I have done something similar over the years-we have a real connection, however our lives were never at the same place at the same time-one of us was always in a relationship when the other was not-and so we never had more than that first initial fling that ended due to location and obligations -almost 20 years ago! Every so often the thought of him pops in my head and I will reach out with a text or email, and we will play catch up until the next time. We haven’t met in person in many years-again because one of us is in a relationship, and we don’t want to start something we can’t pursue or stir up complicated feelings. So, we go about our daily lives and live with great memories and keep in touch when we can-and more importantly- IF we both want to. *Our running joke is always that we will be the old couple in nursing home getting married at 90, since that is probably when we will both be “free” and able to get back together!
    *this in no way negates or diminishes the love I have current DH and our family! me and this other guy knew each other before DH and I met and my DH knows that we keep in touch via text/email.

  3. Meme – great post. DH is really the only person I seriously dated (I was very shy and pretty much a total wallflower in high school; less shy but still didn’t date much in college) so I don’t have much to add.

    DH was married before and I sometimes wonder if his first wife regrets divorcing him. They got married right out of college. She ended up leaving him after 4 years or so of marriage (they were still in their 20s; no kids). Later she realized that she suffered from depression and that was the underlying cause of her unhappiness (not so much the marriage). She’s since been married and divorced a second time. She’s a very nice person. I wonder if she wishes that she’d been able to get treatment for her depression and stayed married to DH. Of course I’m very grateful to be married to DH.

  4. I’ve connected with a bunch of old high school friends in the last few years. I resisted it for almost 20 years because I’ve gained weight. But eventually I broke down and I’m so glad I did. It’s been fun to get together with people who knew you when.

    I have one ex-boyfriend that I’m on good terms with and we Facebook chat occasionally. He’s no threat to DH. I have another ex that I used to wonder about, and recently I found he spent the last four years dying horribly of ALS. That was awful. We broke up badly but I don’t wish that kind of death on anyone. The other minor exes I either know about or don’t care about.

    I still hate that I’m old and overweight and gray, but since my high school friends aren’t 17 anymore either, they don’t seem to care. It’s been interesting. The boys still flirt. We all had a huge loud party at a fancy Palo Alto restaurant a month or two ago. It was fun being the obnoxious table for a change.

  5. On Facebook, the one other girl I really loved from high school, and I, follow each other without regular commenting or even ‘Likes’ (“reactions” as FB calls them). We spent junior and senior years as those inseparable and probably annoying best friends, but the romantic aspect became strong on my side and was mostly unrequited. Mostly. It got a little complicated.

    She had a fling with a guy who had a probation officer, and we stopped corresponding after a few months of college, but she eventually married someone remarkably similar to me, meaning very stable and boring. We sometimes exchange a few brief messages, but certainly not any conversations about what might have been. We’re in very similar demographics now. I have no idea if she feels as I do, that it could have worked out if our paths had crossed when we were both older, or if she feels that we were never right and dodged a major bullet. But it makes no difference.

  6. a couple years ago I connected with an old friend that I had feelings for back in HS (one-sided I think)

    we met for lunch, hadn’t seen him in 15 years

    I didn’t mention it to DH, didn’t think it was a big deal, just lunch

    he found out (we share devices)

    huge blow up over nothing

  7. * let me add in my defense if it was an ex-boyfriend I would certainly have mentioned it before hand to DH

  8. Meme – really neat post and story.

    I spent a couple weekends ago with an old HS friend and her family. I love catching up with her – even if it has been a couple of years we can always pick right up where we left off. :) I haven’t been to any of my HS reunions though – they keep scheduling them when I am somewhere else.

    No old flame contact – all of my relationships prior to DH flamed out in spectacular fashion (I was dumped every time) so I have no desire to contact them!

  9. Have re-connected on FB with childhood through college friends. None of them people I had a romantic thing for.

    When we first met, my current partner was a bit stumped because most of my work friends were guys. Well,my bosses regularly put on teams where I was almost always the only female. We did a lot of work in the field, so who else was there to have lunch with than your team. Except for one, I could never even see myself being more than friends with any of them. Looking back I think it is because I am very matter of fact, low drama and they felt comfortable around me.

  10. I have had the same best friend for a really long time and she married someone that was in our high school class, so I see a lot of people from hs because of her. It is fun and makes me feel young and carefree. I like Facebook following people that I casually dated. My senior prom date/casual boyfriend recently married and has a new baby. I like watching stuff like that. I seriously dated a guy before I met my husband and that ended spectacularly. We are not Facebook friends. He has contacted me a few times over the years. I have always responded pleasantly but pretty formally. I don’t think there is much to be gained by doing more than that. I suspect that my husband wouldn’t be pleased if we got together to reminisce. Maybe in 30 or 35 years.

  11. I’m FB friends with the two people who dated all through HS, and note that they are friends with each other. He was, imo, the best-looking guy in our class, and they were both genuinely nice, which was a rarity in the “popular” crowd (like most HSs). They broke up shortly before they both went off to the same college. They are now both married to other people, apparently happily, her to a guy who was a couple years ahead of us in school. I often wonder if they don’t have pangs remembering those years together. Her mother died of cancer our first year of HS. Her father remarried in a year or less, and her stepmother is still very supportive of her. I wonder if his function in her life was helping her deal with those changes. His older sister died of cancer soon after we graduated. Maybe their relationship just couldn’t handle the role reversal of him being the one grieving.

  12. There are two “in love” relationships that I had before DH.

    One, I am friends with on FB, and it is a good reminder of what a bullet I dodged. I was 18 when we were together, and when we broke up, I was devastated. He has all kinds of problems, including repeated incidents of cheating and lying. He is married for the 3rd time now. UGH.

    The second, my college boyfriend of many years, is not on any social media (at least not publicly). So I have no idea what happened to him. I haven’t seen or heard from him in over 15 years. I do wonder about him, but I don’t wish to rekindle anything. He was a nice, stable guy who was close to his family and childhood friends, and so is DH. We broke up and went our separate ways not too long after college. I dated for awhile, and then ended up with someone remarkably similar to him years later.

    I am FB friends with other guys that I dated less seriously, and it is pretty innocent. It’s fun seeing their kids & vacation photos, but there is no tinge there. Another ex that I dated for about 6 months works in the building next door, and I run into him on the street occasionally. I think he is more wistful about our time together than I am. I was upset at the time, but now feel like it is a very good thing we didn’t work out. We wouldn’t have been compatible long-term.

    DH is friends with some of his exes. I found one friendship a little threatening when we were first dating (probably unfairly), but at this point, it has been a non-issue for years & years.

  13. @AustinMom – at old companies, I mostly had guy work friends too because that was who was around. I got along with them well, and it was 100% innocent. At my current job, the male-female ratio is tipped the other way, so I don’t really have those go-to-lunch/happy hour and joke around relationships with any men right now at work.

  14. My HS boyfriend got married last year, and we went to the wedding. He was at our wedding too. He is not on FB, and I see him once every few years because he lives in a distant city.
    The really fun part about his wedding is that I was able to see my crush from 1st grade! He didn’t go to elementary or middle school with us. It is a coincidence, but he became very close friends with guys that I grew with in my neighborhood.

    He has remained friends with them, and he sees all of them on a regular basis. DH never met any of these guys before and it was fun to connect the dots for him.

    I am not FB friends with the guy that I almost married. It’s not an issue on FB, but Linked In always suggests that we link because we have so many former colleagues that are the same.

  15. My favorite “reconnection” was when I was in Berlin with DS. A thundershower–with hail!–broke out and we ran for the subway, along with a bunch of other people. I was trying to figure out how to warm up my little boy, when I heard my name, my full name, being called very loudly from the other end of the car. It was the guy I’d dated when I lived in Berlin ten years earlier! Berlin felt strangely empty without him, and there he was! Our breakup was ugly, but we became friends after that, and I even went with him when he went home for the first time in 17 years (he’d been a refuge). He gave me a shirt he was carrying, which meant that I could take mine off and give it to my son, and put his on over my tank top. He was great with kids, and we got together with him every time we went to Berlin after that, until he tried to get me in bed. I didn’t see him after that. I wonder every now and then how he’s doing or how to get in touch.

  16. I’m FB friends with lots of people from high school, so that includes a couple of crushes, but no one I’d dated. I haven’t sought out the couple of serious boyfriends (college and after). I would be curious enough to see what they’re up to if a FB connection came about organically due to common friends, but I would be reluctant to go seeking them out. I’ve seen a couple of cases among my HS friends where the FB connection ended up causing marital trouble — in one case, a guy flirting with his ex-girlfriend and a bunch of other classmates, innocently in most cases but can’t be sure about the ex-girlfriend, and his wife freaked, possibly because there was a history. In another case, someone (actually the same person as the ex-girlfriend in the other story) who when I first was on FB was married to someone not from our high school, ended up within a couple of years divorced and remarried to one of my classmates. So maybe she’s the problem! Which, yeah, she was into that kind of drama in HS too.

  17. Hmmmm. I have heard of stories where such reconnection a got messy.
    I had one serious bf before DH in college and it also ended spectacularly for him. I had just drifted apart after realizing that I was just not into him and could not find a way to tell him. I let it go too far in terms of making the relationship knon as serious to his parents. I finally told him no way and it must have made things awkward for him with his family.

  18. The wife of a not close friend from HS friended me. I just assumed she also went to our HS and I just didn’t remember her, so I accepted the friend request. After some painfully explicit descriptions of the digestive tract issues she was suffering, and great detail on the diagnostic process, I asked a friend who she was/what her maiden name was. Turns out she didn’t know me – she just friended all of the women her husband was friends with. I Unfriended them both.

    I only had one serious BF before my husband, and he turned into a fairly serious alcoholic. I have no desire to reconnect. I am FB friends with a couple of very casual BF. One is a CEO of a smallish company. A couple of others have alcohol problems that required rehab. My husband rarely drinks, so I guess I chose better as I matured.

  19. That is a great story, Meme.

    My first boyfriend is on FB. No clue what he’s up to but he seems stuffy.

    My first true crush and I are friends on fb. Holy crap he looks EXACTLY the same as he did 23 years ago. How is that possible?? I see his pic and still sigh a bit. Totally unrequited. I don’t think he knew I existed then. DH knows but doesn’t care.

    I avoid as many people from elementary and high school as I can. Most people I meet seem only interested in rehashing the past or get offended that I left our hometown. Maybe people need more time and distance?

  20. Interesting topic, Meme, and great story you told. It must have been hard to hear his sadness and regret.

    I have connected w/ a ton of old HS, college and law school friends on FB, and I love it. I especially love the HS friends — some of whom date back to ES and MS of course. So fun to see what they’re up to. I’ve posted a few photos of the radio display in the car on some of their walls, when some old 7th grade YMCA dance fave like Stairway to Heaven comes on. Ah, the memories.

    I consider my 2 HS boyfriends to be “old friends,” perhaps because neither flamed out in spectacular fashion, and I’m FB friends with both of them. My only college bf became my ex-husband, and he and I are friends on FB but he never posts. I’m also friends w/ his wife and son, his mom, his brothers + their wives, and his nieces/nephews and some cousins. As is DH, actually, since he knows some of them quite well now, after he met them all at my ex’s wedding, and over the years we’ve often had various of them overnight or for dinner or whatever when they’ve been passing through for sports or business or whatever, and we have had my former MIL here for several weekends, sometimes with other of her grandkids in tow. In that same vein, I am FB friends with DH’s old HS girlfriend (long story) and connected on LinkedIn with his ex-wife. She’s not on social media, but I expect we’d be friends there if she were.

    We seem to have a pretty clear pre/post delineation in our minds, I guess: anything that happened before we got together, we don’t appear to care about.

  21. MBT – weird about that woman friending all of her husband’s female friends. I’m sure it’s not completely rare, just ultra stalkerish and untrusting!

  22. A few years ago, the son of a girl I dated in college was hired into my office, and he did some work on a couple of my projects.

    I never mentioned my past relationship with his mom. He knew that I knew his mom, but I don’t know what he knows beyond that.

  23. I got a friend request from the fiance of a FB friend. Didn’t feel weird to me, because he had slowly been adding in more comments about her over the past year (or two?) and nearly always liked or commented on her posts, which meant I saw them too, and I occasionally commented on them. I see it as the two of them wanting to meld their lives together. When her daughter made a comment about them fighting like they’re already married, I said “you can’t fight; your my favorite love story!”.That brought heart and smiley responses from them and friends. Since “friending” each other, we’ve commented more on each others posts, he has said they’d both like us to visit and when I said in an aside that my son is very into Harp Seals and I’d love to take him to see them and the Northern Lights, and maybe go skiing, she said her dad owned a hotel “up there”. While it may be stalkerish sometimes, that isn’t always the case.

  24. I had only one serious and relationship before DH (and we dated from the ages of 15 to 20). Broke up in college because of distance (and because we had been together since we were 15). Breaking up with him and the long drawn out process of the break up was so heartbreaking after a while I just had to stop talking to him. I still remember him calling me over spring break my senior year of college and I had just started dating DH and him wanting to go to lunch and just having to say no thanks. Anyway, no regrets about any of it, as I think heartbreak is probably character building and DH and I are far better suited for each other.

    I went out with some girlfriends from high school while I was home in July and it was just so much fun. Reminiscing about high school but also seeing where everyone is and the great people they are now was awesome. My ex married a girl from high school (cheerleader, gorgeous and they have a million kids) but I heard at our get together that they’re having problems. I really hope they work it out because despite our horrible break up, he was a great first love and I want him to be happy. He’s not on FB but his wife is and we have a lot of friends in common so she pops up on my feed quite a bit. Dh is friends with some exes on FB but I’ve never really worried about it or cared.

  25. I have a high school friend who divorced, and often posts pictures of her beautiful kids. Her ex remarried a woman who was in my sorority, who also posts pics of the same beautiful kids. It’s weird seeing the same young adults popping up in unrelated friends. It feels sometimes like people are just using the default pic that comes in a picture frame.

  26. I’d like to reconnect with more old friends and flames because of heartwarming (and sometimes bittersweet) experiences I’ve already had in getting back in touch with old friends. It’s been amazing to see my memories flood back and to see how my now middle-aged+ friends retain aspects of their younger selves. Two important old friends died during the time we lost touch – my best friend from HS and an unrequited love from college.

    I’ve Google-stalked old boyfriends but have never reconnected. One who never wanted to “settle down” because he wanted to follow his passion is now living on the opposite side of the world, apparently following his passion and not married. I guess he was really serious and not just trying to shake me off. I would love to reconnect with him and other old boyfriends. Although the relationships were not ideal, I remember all of them fondly.

  27. Once I had made up my mind to leave the home country, I couldn’t get further in relationships because the more involved I got, the more I would be pulled to stay. And I really didn’t want to stay. It was hard explaining that to two guys because both were great to be around. One of them had his wife find me on FB. When I went back, I met his wife and kids (who are close in age to my own). He told me that at first, he didn’t understand why I wanted to leave but now he does. I tried to find another friend, both of us knew but her parents died, she married and moved to another country. We hit a dead end.

  28. I’m a little surprised at the number (I haven’t gone back and counted) of us who have had only about two real loves, including their spouse. I wonder how typical that is, or if all the usual self-proclaimed traits of this group skew that # downward.

  29. Milo – I can’t imagine that anyone could love over and over again in the way that leads to a physical ache in the middle of your chest. The ache of longing when you catch a glimpse or even just anticipate seeing the person as you approach a meeting. The ache of loneliness when you are apart for an extended period. The heartache when you have had a fight and you start to wonder if the relationship is broken. The stab of jealousy, founded or unfounded. And the ache of fear of losing or if unrequited of missing out on this person who seems to be a puzzle piece completing yourself.

  30. I can’t imagine that anyone could love over and over again in the way that leads to a physical ache in the middle of your chest.

    What about someone like Dame Elizabeth Taylor Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky? I think people can – just not people like us.

  31. Ops, I missed one – it’s Dame Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky

  32. “But I think she would have been happy with Fabrice,’ I said. ‘He was the great love of her life, you know.’
    Oh, dulling,’ said my mother, sadly. ‘One always thinks that. Every, every time.”

    From Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love — they’re referring to someone who died young, Fabrice would have been her third husband if he and she had lived (WWII, hard on family life), and the mother who is speaking led a wild life with many husbands.

    While I was looking for that quote I came across this gem also from Nancy Mitford:

    “I think housework is far more tiring and frightening than hunting is, no comparison, and yet after hunting we had eggs for tea and were made to rest for hours, but after housework people expect one to go on just as if nothing special had happened.”

  33. The fraction of men to whom I could be attracted was, and probably always will be, very small. Other women seem to find a much broader range of men attractive than I do. Similarly, a very small subset of men finds me attractive.

    I concur with Milo that this may be associated with Totebagginess. It is not how many people one can love in a lifetime. It’s that when your reaction has a high threshold energy, it will occur less often than for reactants with a low threshold energy.

  34. I found many men attractive, but I’ve never met anyone else that I clicked with personality-wise like I do with DH, (and I find him very attractive as well)

  35. Similarly, a very small subset of men finds me attractive.

    I’d agree with this for me

  36. Interesting observation- I’ve only had 1, and I’m married to him. Was comparing notes with a group of grown-up tiger cubs recently (all bridesmaids at the wedding of a friend who went to an elite college) and we observed that all of us had either married our first boyfriends, and the two single girls had yet to be in a serious relationship. No one really dated in high school- all “late bloomers” socially. Definitely think it’s a totebagger thing.

    Have missed you guys lately. (I can’t thank you enough for the baby travel tips, Rhode!) Between a cross-country trip, a very mobile and poorly napping little one, and home projects my keyboard time has been nearly nonexistent.

  37. “The fraction of men to whom I could be attracted was, and probably always will be, very small. Other women seem to find a much broader range of men attractive than I do. Similarly, a very small subset of men finds me attractive.”

    Great point WCE- it was a brash and obnoxious observation, but I remarked to my dad at a young age that I didn’t think I’d ever get married because I could never marry a man that I didn’t consider a peer intellectually and that ruled out about 99% of them. And then considering that many highly intelligent/high earning men tend to value physical appearance more than intellect, and I’m pretty average in the looks department, the pool was quite small. But hey, it only takes one, and we found each other.

  38. The fraction of men to whom I could be attracted was, and probably always will be, very small.

    Yeah, you don’t have to have a matched set of IQ scores, but it’s good to be within a standard deviation if you want to share interests, sense of humor, and so forth.

  39. “It is not how many people one can love in a lifetime. It’s that when your reaction has a high threshold energy, it will occur less often than for reactants with a low threshold energy.”

    This really made me smile. I vote WCE be awarded Post of the Day. :)

  40. My guess is that as we age we have a better sense of the people we really loved, versus those we thought we loved at the time or even a few years later. In other words the number of “true loves” probably diminishes over one’s life as we get to know ourselves better. I, too, only have two true loves, the second being DH, the first being someone I met while studying abroad and with whom I made the difficult decision to break up once I was done with college and moving on to a different phase in my life. I don’t regret it, I was too young to make a life-long commitment and the circumstances of the relationship were difficult because of our different backgrounds. But all other relationships were just infatuations after that one, until I met DH. We’ve emailed over the years, about once every 2-3 years, which is just right for me. I do want to know that he’s doing well and happy, and hopefully vice versa, but that’s all.

  41. HM – the home country thinking was that one could have a very happy marriage but it wasn’t necessarily going to be with your one true love.
    And even true love didn’t necessarily mean happiness.

  42. Louise, I often think that that is a healthier and saner approach to life than the “one true soulmate” stuff that the movies tell us.

    But I still think that I am enough of an outlier on several key metrics that there are very few men I could be happy with for life. It’s those *other* people closer to the mean who have plenty of options and should be less worried about finding “THE one.” ;)

    I do not keep in touch with the vast majority of my exes; I don’t break up well. Maybe in 50 years, who knows.

    In unrelated news, I can remember being furious when I was catcalled in my early 20s, and now when it happens in my late 30s (very rarely, I admit) I am torn between a victory fist pump and yelling, “I’m old enough to be your mother, have some respect!”

  43. ” I didn’t think I’d ever get married because I could never marry a man that I didn’t consider a peer intellectually and that ruled out about 99% of them. And then considering that many highly intelligent/high earning men tend to value physical appearance more than intellect, and I’m pretty average in the looks department, the pool was quite small.”

    Not an engineering major?

  44. ” I can’t imagine that anyone could love over and over again in the way that leads to a physical ache in the middle of your chest.” Uh, yes, I can. Low energy thresh hold to get started, but then sucks everything out of me to keep it going. I had noticed the high portion of people here saying they’d married their first or second boyfriend or girlfriend. I also notice a number of people mentioning that they wouldn’t have been compatible with soandso. I think recognition of that is also an unusual trait. It makes all marriages a mixture of love marriages and pragmatic partnerships.
    On the IQ comparison, I’ve mentioned before that in seeking men who would happily take responsibility for the home whether they were working or not, I’ve tended to aim too low in terms of drive. That may be true for IQ as well. Some have been smart (some of those educated, some not), some not so much. There is someone I’d like to go back to and try again, this time making a careful decision about what role we want to let the other have in our lives. He definitely passes the bars for IQ and drive as well as domesticity and looks. I’m not ready to get in touch with him yet. Need to have all my ducks in a row first, and right now I’m not even sure they’re all in the same pond.

  45. Sky, enjoy it while it lasts. It doesnt happens after 40+.

    I had to wait a very long time to find real love after the first engagement didn’t work out in my 20s.

    The three people that I’ve loved are very different. They look different, backgrounds and interests are different. Deep down, they’re all what my grandmother would call a mensch.

    I still think everything is meant to be because even though I waited a while until I met DH, he’s the right one.

    I think the interesting thing about divorce is that I can see my parents with other people. I can’t believe they EVER got married because they’re totally wrong for each other. The people they met later were much better matches for each person.

  46. Cheerful Sun, this is why you need to leave that state. Especially the part of the state where you live. I really doubt your other half can be found in that metro area. Just my opinion though.

  47. Hi guys — back on the grid, alas. Will post trip update later. OT, I have little to no experience with this; I have kept in touch with the people I cared about directly and haven’t really done the social network thing, so none of those chance connection things. I have gone to a few reunions, but they have been almost invariably disappointing, as I didn’t see most of the people I had hoped to.

    This may change going forward, as I joined FB last month to keep up with DD’s band trip, and now suddenly I am friends with any number of people I hadn’t talked to directly in years. I do find it’s nice to be able to see what people are up to even when I had lost touch — I love the pics.

  48. I have no idea what WCE meant by her comment. None. Perhaps someone can translate.

    Chesu – (I like that short form but please tell me not to use it if you don’t). I have a quick cut off switch. It simply can’t get to that point easily. The first time I feel the onset of the where is he I need a fix ache / woe is me ache, if I hate myself for the feeling rather than luxuriate in it, I cut bait.

  49. On the small pool of smart enough guys, I am realistic enough to know that in the neighborhood is okay. None of my loves were ambitious (everyone has dreams, but depressives don’t tend to follow through well, and their self perceived lack of success is part of the circular self feeding nature of the disease.)

    On our first anniversary (second marriage) hubby was chatting about my two academic star daughters and in his oblivious socially challenged way he made his smartness ranking of DD1, DD2, himself, me as if it were obvious. I blurted out with a chuckle, boy, second time around I’ve really nailed this wife gig!

  50. I think Totebaggers to a big extent do analysis of the situation – this extends to choice of spouse. I think of it as consulting an internal consumer report – make, model, cost, depreciation, maintenance/repairs. After evaluating the model in hand vs. some other model they decide whether to buy or keep looking.

  51. Lauren, I’m not even dropping a line in these alligator and shark infested swamp waters. You were right about it when I moved here. I’d be happy to talk to you about that more if you hotmail me at the old handle. Not only am I unlikely to find someone here, but if I did, I’d be bogged down when I had the rest lined up and was ready to leave. So no, no way is that happening. As far as my son is concerned (he has told me), I’m asexual.

    Louise, I am either very cautious, with lots and lots of analysis, sometimes to the point of paralysis, sometimes until a framework is filled out, or I leap without looking. I have taken a couple of jobs, including the one between undergrad & grad school, where I said in the interview “I don’t know how to do that yet, but I’m a quick study”. Employers took me at my word, and tossed me in the pond, where I had to learn to swim their stroke.

    Meme, the name came up in an ironic comment, which is what I like about it. People have used several short versions. I don’t know which I like best: Sunny, Sunshine, CS, Cheerful (which is probably too long to be a shortcut). There is a whole nother handle I’m thinking of trying out here, idk Anyway, about the cutoff point, I have a tendency to see things as relationship tests and will sacrifice to meet them. Then when he doesn’t feel the same way, I am destroyed. I need to learn to screw the idea of sacrifice and cut things off if they reach that point. I think I might actually be ready to do that next time around (although if I meet up with that guy, we both can sweep eachother off our feet and both can do dumb things)

  52. Meme, as I understand the energy level thing, some people don’t require a lot to be ready to try a relationship, whereas others require much more.

  53. Like many others, DH was my second boyfriend. I have totally lost touch with the first one, and have no desire to hear about how he’s doing. I do keep in touch with my high school girlfriends. We meet in a different city once a year for a girls’ weekend, which I look forward to.

  54. I thought what WCE was saying is that some people have a big pool of people thay they like and others (like Totebaggers) have a much smaller one. I have friends who always had serious boyfriends. They would break up with one and have another serious one by the weekend. I (and I suspect most Totebaggers) am (are) not like that. I found exactly zero guys that I wanted to date seriously in law school. And I don’t think I am unusually picky. It is probably a miracle that I found such a good guy.

  55. Kate expressed it very well. I wanted to find someone similarly religious, child-oriented, bright and with similar views on the masculinity/femininity spectrum who was also mature, tolerant of my extended family, ideally from someone who came from a stable family and willing to persist in marriage through thick and thin.

    Even on this blog, there are people who strongly wanted an egalitarian marriage and a few like me, who didn’t. It isn’t clear yet whether the majority of my friends (who didn’t plan for a child-related career hiatus, and who may or may not have ended up taking one) made a better choice or if I (who planned for for a child-related career hiatus, ideally with part-time work) will wind up happier with our choices.

    Much of this is knowing what you want. No friends with children succeeded as professors, but they are content with academic advising jobs, comfortably employed husbands and children. I could have fit in that boat. Some of my friends found balancing work/family too difficult, and this depended on family support, how many children they had, eldercare obligations, their career demands and their financial resources. Those friends will wind up as a mixed bag, since there are so many variables there, and most of us learn to like our lives.

    Only one close friend wound up divorced, and her ex-husband was a turd of the first order.

  56. Madaline Dorado…She just won silver in the 200m medley:

    She skipped second grade because it wasn’t challenging enough. She was 13 when she went to high school, 15 when she got a perfect SAT math score and 17 when she entered Stanford. She got married at 22. Now 23, she has a high-powered job as a business analyst with McKinsey & Company in Atlanta waiting for her in September.

    Well then….

  57. I’m only in my 20’s and I always have the desire to track down old friends. Even just creeping on social media you can see see who’s flourishing and who is going in a downward spiral. It’s sad that it’s so apparent because we’re all still so young. But it makes me want to ask questions. I’m probably going to be meeting up with people in the future also. Right now it seems too soon. Thank you for you wonderful post as it gave me insight as to how things can change and hope that at one point things will be put aside and reconnecting won’t be impossible!

  58. HM, yes, I have been following her! Did you know that her son is older than some of her competitors?

  59. HM – love her. I wish NBC would do less of Michael-Phelps-sitting-with-headphones-on and more of the SPORTS!

  60. Meme – beyond the meaning of WCE’s post, what I really found amusing was the very cerebral/scientific explanation of such an emotional topic. Very typical of a subset of this group, I find, and to me (not part of the subset) very endearing.

  61. L, you can always watch online and choose what segments you want to see. But then you’d miss whatever it is you’re talking about a parents doing. Only about them online is how anxious and excited the dad gets. I’d be anxious too, if my kid were competing in a sport that had almost killed him.

  62. “with similar views on the masculinity/femininity spectrum”

    WCE – what are your views on this, do you mean traditional roles for men and women?

  63. “Even on this blog, there are people who strongly wanted an egalitarian marriage and a few like me, who didn’t. It isn’t clear yet whether the majority of my friends (who didn’t plan for a child-related career hiatus, and who may or may not have ended up taking one) made a better choice or if I (who planned for for a child-related career hiatus, ideally with part-time work) will wind up happier with our choices.”

    @WCE: But why does it have to be either-or? I would assume that there is a good chance that if all of these people knew their priorities and goals, they would each choose appropriately for them. You’d be unhappy living my life, and I’d be unhappy living yours, but we can both wind up equally happy with our own choices.

    @Cheerful: I think the difference is that “sacrifice as test” thing you mention — if someone expected sacrifices from me early on, I’d see it as him not seeing me as an equal; OTOH, if someone made big sacrifices for me early on, I’d see it as emotional manipulation/trying to guilt-trip me into sticking around. And since I’d always rather be alone than bored or not respected or any of 183 other things, I’d likely cut bait in either scenario.

    I fall completely within WCE’s and Rio’s descriptions: a combination of personality factors and goals at the skinny end of the distribution curve, without the looks to overcome them — and completely unable to pretend to be anything else but what I was. My Popeye approach definitely meant I didn’t date a lot. But the one benefit was that people could generally see exactly what they were getting into. And since DH was the same way, it made for an almost instantaneous click, because we knew who the other was from the get-go with no bullshit or game-playing.

  64. CS – no, no, you don’t get it. Why would they name their kid STEELE when their last name is JOHNSON? Really, now!

  65. Madaline’s parents are probably lovely people, but they certainly have set a high bar for the “and what are your kids up to?” question at parties.

    RMS, that was a really sad story.

  66. L, I thought the same thing on his name! so funny-only not sure if it was meant to be

  67. We make fun of snowflakes, but there is a balance between too much praise or none at all. No praise at all or setting the bar higher and higher each time can suck the life out of a kid.
    I was reading JD Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy and there he mentions that Amy Chua was his professor at Yale Law School who encouraged him. I thought that was so interesting.

  68. OK, trip update for anyone who is interested:

    Band trip was as expected. Even DD, my electron, was overwhelmed and glad to be done — they had the kids going from about 7-8 every morning until 11-12 at night. The concert we saw was better than I feared. What really surprised me was that they had 80+ villagers show up at the concert and even had a reception with the mayor afterwards; some of their concerts had 200 people. Me, I listen to a HS band concert on pain of death, and then only because I am directly related to someone playing. So I was very impressed with the level of respect and courtesy these villages paid by showing up en masse and treating the kids so well.

    France: It has been close to 30 years since I was in Alsace, and it is beautiful. We visited some towns in the Route du Vin, which makes Barolo look like a major metropolitan area — these towns are literally sometimes 1 km apart. DS loved Haut Koenigsbourg and learned how to order ice cream in French. My only regret is we only managed tarte flambee twice — there was so much food that we usually just ended up making a salad at the apartment.

    Barolo/La Morra: Four days of wine tasting. Even I was done by the end. But it was definitely fun to take my mom to these places, and we have a few more cases that we shipped home. :-) The key is to understand the system: my mom kept walking out of places because she wanted free tastings, and many of the cellars will charge a token fee — but if you buy a bottle or two, they tend to waive the fee. And sometimes it’s just worth it for the experience — I think it is Borgogne (sp?) that has their tasting room in a building with a big roof deck, high above the entire town. They charge 15e for a trio of tastes — but it turns out that the “tastes” are basically a full-size glass of each, plus a large bottle of water and a full basket of breadsticks. So we had a lovely happy hour on the roof terrace overlooking everything for the same or less as going to a bar. But the high point was when we had a half-day to kill before getting DD and found a teensy little place that spoke no English that had a truly delicious Moscato passito (their version of icewine) — we bought a case of that and two bottles of Moscato for less than 110e.

    Emilia-Romagna: We stayed in a little B&B outside the town of Langhirano, which is the capital of prosciutto. The B&B owners set us up with tours with some of the local prosciutto and parmigiano reggiano makers, which were quite delicious — the cheese facility had probably the best ricotta I have ever had, so I bought a chunk and took it with us to Tuscany and ate it for breakfast every day with bread and jam. We also had a lovely drive into the Apennines and a hike up around a mountain lake — (Lago Dei?) — they have a one-butt chairlift that you can ride up, great fun. Would love more time there.

    Tuscany: Stayed in the same place as before, near Arezzo. Highly recommend Montepulciano, Gubbio, and Anghiari — all very scenic old towns, great to walk through. Montepulciano is the most touristy but also has the best wine. :-) Gubbio has a funicular that you can take up to a monastery (former?) on top of the mountain; we had a lunch at the top at a restaurant that is mediocre but has phenomenal views (not the one at the top of the lift, you have to hike up a bit). Anghiari is extremely well-preserved and not remotely touristy. We hired our hosts to make DH’s birthday dinner at the house, which was fantastic. The couple who owns the place practically feels like family now, they are so nice — they bought DH a very nice bottle of wine as a birthday present, and they had made a donation in my stepdad’s name to the Italian Parkinson’s foundation in his memory. The guy unfortunately couldn’t be there for the dinner — normally the best part is when we all sit around the table with grappa after — but surprised us by coming in for lunch with three bottles of wine and a spread of meats, cheeses, and veggies from local producers he knows. Really couldn’t ask for a nicer place or nicer people.

    Condor Airlines: OK, so, this is the big mixed review. On the plus side: Their economy fares to Europe are like $400 from BWI, and their Business class is like $1K — freaking awesome. The business class section is perfectly nice — beds go all the way flat (though not exactly soft), the blankets are *awesome*, the food is more than plentiful and reasonably tasty, the service on the plane is lovely, there is a selection of movies on individual screens, power outlet at the seats, etc. Kids were in heaven. I would actually have been able to sleep, which was the whole point of doing the upgrade, except the turbulence we hit around midnight put the kibosh on that, dangit.

    The problem is the service on the ground. No problem for me and my mom and DS, because we just flew straight to Frankfurt, but DH had to connect to Milan. His flight was 2 hrs late getting in (umm, due to maintenance issues, i.e., “their fault”), which caused him to miss his connection. And Condor just basically said, sorry, bud, you’re flying on our sister company airline, you’re on your own — go talk to Lufthansa. Except Condor hadn’t even given him his Lufthansa reservation number — it wasn’t anywhere on the ticket they sent, and the Lufthansa people had no record of the Condor number, so he couldn’t rebook anything online or on the phone. So Condor is happy to sell you the ticket as though it’s on their own airline, but then they basically throw you to the wolves. DH got to spend 4 1/2 hours in line in Frankfurt — literally like the DMV, an hour and a half in line just to be assigned a number, then sitting in a room with no bathroom for the next three hours before his number got called for assistance. It took so long they actually called him *out of turn* because his possible connection was leaving in 30 mins. He got lucky to make that one — after all that, he only managed standby on that flight, and when he got to the gate he was told the flight had checked in full. But he stayed in the area to grab a sandwich and 10 mins later heard his name called.

    In light of that, I realized that we were going to have the same issue on the return, because we had Lufthansa out of Florence to Frankfurt. The Condor instructions say that if your first trip is with a partner, you need to check in with the partner — but there was no Lufthansa reservation number on the ticket they sent us. So I emailed their help desk, and two days later I get a response saying “for security reasons, we cannot release that information, please email us from the account you made the reservation with” — except I DID email them from that account. And they also say that for seat assignments you need to contact Lufthansa directly — except, you guessed it, without the Lufthansa reservation number, you cannot actually log in to Lufthansa to get a seat assignment. And on top of all that, we couldn’t get our phones to work on any of the Italian or US numbers for Lufthansa. Much stress. DH finally got ahold of someone directly at Condor in Germany who gave us the reservation numbers, but by then it was too late to get seat assignments; we were just lucky that Lufthansa on their own had already assigned us seats together.

    And, to top it all off, we spent the 19th hour of our day standing at baggage claim, waiting over an hour. Our bags were probably #240-243 of the 250 bags off the plane — with their “priority” labels sitting right there on top. Ugh. But BWI baggage claim always sucks, so don’t know that I can necessarily blame that on Condor.

    So my takeaway is: Condor is awesome if you are flying direct from BWI to Frankfort. Other than that, screw it — take the train or drive. And don’t check bags.

    Oh, and if anyone wants recommendations for places to stay/wineries to visit/restaurants to eat at in these places, email me at my gmail address — we lucked into some really great places.

  69. I love that L has to explain why STEELE JOHNSON is a horrific name. I mean, COME ON. Steele Johnson???!!! It sounds like the name of a porno flick!

    I am also loving the 41 year old gymnast. Amazing!

  70. Thanks, LFB! I love trip reports from totebaggers.

    I really liked WCE’s explanations, but like a nerd I felt the need to Google “threshold energy” for better understanding. It helped make everything crystal clear. And this somehow came to mind.

    “She blinded me with science!”
    And hit me with technology
    “Good heavens Miss Sakamoto, you’re beautiful!”

  71. Ok, and unrelated to anything, I bought a fountain pen of the old-fashioned variety — i.e., the kind you dip in an inkwell. OMG, that is *hard* — I am sitting here practicing my signature, and I keep stabbing the paper and ink is going everywhere. I knew my handwriting was atrocious, but I never realized the amount of skill and dexterity that was required simply for the physical act of writing in ye olden days.

    I also bought a wax seal with my initial. I figure I am going to go full “Esquire” on someone at the appropriate time. :-)

  72. Just because there are worse names doesn’t mean that Steele Johnson isn’t a ridiculous name to chose for your child!

  73. Laura, thanks for the trip report. Good medicine after the Debby Thomas story!
    There is one obvious element in Thomas’ story that Madeline won’t have to deal with. She can succeed or fail for herself, doesn’t have to do it for anyone else. “First black” and “first woman” –geesh, can you add any more pressure?

  74. Laura, you needed more pressure? There are “learner” fountain pens that are supposedly easier that you could try if you get really serious and really frustrated. I can’t use either one.

    L, wow, I overthought that one by miles and miles!

  75. winemama, I suppose by “spectrum” of difference I mean that I was willing and wanted to pull back to spend time with young children and both of us thought that was important, but he was happy/fine with my career in general. He didn’t care that I have no interest in make-up/fashion. He wishes that I did home decorating but has learned that if he wants to live in an aesthetically pleasing home, he should decorate it. We have lots of antlers.

    LfB, by the choices people made, I was thinking of friends who didn’t discuss/think about who would make career sacrifices for kids/parents before getting married and then are frustrated that their husbands don’t share the load.

    Maybe my rambling point is that when you change social classes, it’s hard to know what you want your life to look like, especially when you reject some aspects of how you were raised and so are on your own financially and logistically at 18.

    Mr WCE shares your view of Condor. He flew them once but now avoids them.

  76. I see, I agree then that DH and I are on the same page with that, he doesn’t care if I don’t wear my makeup or color my hair, he is supportive of my career, etc

  77. I will also admit that I have Google-stalked former crushes. (unrequited so I can’t call them old loves) I thought maybe I was the only one who had done this.

  78. WCE, aren’t there lots of couples that did discuss division of labor before getting hitched and then wound up with another division later, to the consternation of one spouse?

  79. CS, the families I know all have the wife at home. Maybe the husband is also frustrated to be the employed one- they don’t share that with me. I associate with traditional people at church and am now one of two women in my work group. None of the men in my group have wives with careers, which affects expectations for availability. In Mr WCE’s group, the other guys nearly all have full-time SAH wives or are single, and I think his manager is the only woman in his group, although there are a couple female software engineers in a nearby group.

    Part of me realizes my sample is skewed, thanks to this blog.

  80. I thought maybe I was the only one who had done this.

    Ha! I see engineers do have a sense of humor. You’re kidding, right? Everyone does that.

  81. My DH and I dated for years before marrying, but never discussed division of labor stuff. It took a major post-child fight, but we have a system now. We apparently didn’t discuss anything we should have until our marriage prep weekend required by the church. The biggest gap was he was not very keen on having kids, and I wanted a slew. I will encourage my kids to discuss more while dating.

  82. RMS, I was only half-joking. Actually, I check up on former crushes by consulting the patent database, not Google.

  83. “She was 13 when she went to high school, 15 when she got a perfect SAT math score and 17 when she entered Stanford. ”

    The perfect SAT math score and getting into Stanford are impressive, but starting HS at 13 and college at 17 aren’t. About a third of my HS class started HS at 13, about a third of those who went to college started when they were 17.

  84. Finn, my 13 year old starts HS tomorrow, which puts him on track for starting college at 17, unless he takes a gap year.

  85. I don’t think it is unusual in certain states to be 13 when you start HS, or 17 when you start college. All of the kids that I went to school with that celebrate a birthday between Sept 1- Dec 31 will be 13 when they start 9th grade. The idea of red shirting didn’t exist back then, so there were a chunk of young kids in each grade. Parents didn’t red shirt, and 1/3 of the grade was waiting to turn 14.

    I don’t love the idea, but there were 7 kids in DD’s kindergarten class that were only 4 y.o. when she started K. Only 1 kid was going to turn 6 in October. It might have been the recession, but I was surprised at how few parents held back their kids that had bdays between Sept and Dec 31. There are still a fair number of districts in some states that still maintain a Dec 31 cutoff to start a school year. They will always be very young for the grade, and they will start college at 17. You might not see this as much in your state if school starts in August, and the bday cutoff is in the Spring.

  86. “All of the kids that I went to school with that celebrate a birthday between Sept 1- Dec 31 will be 13 when they start 9th grade.”

    All of the kids in my kids’ schools with birthdays between Sept 1 – Dec 31 are pushed back to the next grade. Much to my annoyance.

    I suspect the point of the article was to say that she skipped a grade or two, but either the writer had a school system like mine and assumed all schools were like that (so “started HS at 13” was shorthand for “wicked smart”) or just doesn’t know and thought it sounded impressive.

  87. “I was surprised at how few parents held back their kids that had bdays between Sept and Dec 31.”

    Redshirting a year would mean an additional year of preschool or some other sort of day care, which for some parents would be a significant issue.

    Perhaps a contributing factor to that swimmer skipping a year was that she really should’ve started a year earlier.

    And then we have Milo, who didn’t skip 7th grade. Well, neither did I. I also worked in the same building, for a number of years, as a guy named Michael (don’t call him Mike) Hunt.

  88. We have so much of “not ready for kindergarten” by the parents that a kid who goes to school based on the designated cut offs with a summer birthday is looked upon as an oddity. I felt that even with their kid at age 40 parents would still be going “not ready”.

  89. Even DD, my electron

    I read that and thought, “Wait, she’s very negative?” There was a guy in college we used to call “Electron Man” because he was so negative. Perhaps ‘gas molecule’ would have worked better for your daughter.

    We once made up the little packet of powdered walnut-based ink from OSV or CW, I forget which, and tried it out with the quill pen. Doable, but a PITA.

    Finn, you’re right, my oldest started HS at 13, and my youngest will too assuming no dramatic flameout in the next two years. My daughter’s birthday is earlier in the year.

  90. BTW, 800 SAT Math is impressive, but at 15 isn’t either. The old SAT, which she would’ve taken at 15, was, to my understanding, did not require knowledge of advanced math concepts to do well. If she started HS at 13, then at 15 she was probably a junior, which is when a large %age of kids take their SATs.

    I’ve mentioned before that I recommend kids take the SAT for the first time no later than December of their junior years, unless they’re planning on using the ACT as their primary college entrance exam.

  91. My college’s hockey team got a fair bit of national press when they won the NCAA championship (w00t!) and I remember one of the articles solemnly discussing their rigorous courseload including a class the article implied was an advanced physics course. We recognized it as one a distribution-requirement course well known as a gut. I can’t remember its nickname, wasn’t Rocks for Jocks, but one like that. I think journalists just like that storyline and will look for stuff that sounds impressive without thinking too hard about whether it’s really unusual.

  92. There is no topic so romantic and wistful that it cannot morph into a conversation about the SAT.

  93. RMS – at the bookstore last week, kids were running around looking at books. I happened to take a comfortable seat near the window intending to read. I looked up and was staring directly at the Test Prep section. There was GMAT, GRE, LSAT but I couldn’t see SAT.

  94. My close friend in town has a rising senior. She is one of the very few friends that has crossed from a faux mom friend into a life long friend.

    I was just thinking when Finn mentioned SAT scores on this post that I wish I could introduce her to Finn. Every conversation we have eventually turns to colleges or scores. So many of Finn’s comments remind me of this friend.

    She told me last week that her coworkers told her that if she mentions the SAT, ACT, Naviance or AP anything that they will stop going to lunch with her. They had an intervention and said they just want lunch to be college free for the summer.

  95. The author was trying to stretch out the accolades. All of the age-related stuff is related to, and can be explained by, skipping a grade.

  96. “Godwin’s law = Finn’s law”

    No, all discussions don’t have to evolve into college/SAT discussions. They can also evolve into calculus track discussions.

  97. I mean, that’s like saying a political discussion might end up in comparisons to Hitler OR to Goebbels.

  98. BTW, FTR I will point out that I did not introduce SAT into this thread, I just responded to another post that brought it up.

  99. It was a different one, but danged if I can remember. Something with Waves in the nickname? My googling did serve up this trip down memory lane, though, courtesy of a 1981 Crimson article:

    Lit and Arts C-14, “The Concept of the Hero in Hellenic Civilization,” is lifeless compared to “Heros for Zeros;” “Abnormal Psychology” much less enticing than “Nuts and Sluts.” Or Folklore and Mythology 107, “Literature of the Fantastic” vs. “FM107: Easy Listening.” “Technology, War and Peace,” and “Bombs.” “American Architecture Since the Civil War” or “Bricks for Dicks.”

  100. I’ll also mention that my SAT post on this thread was limited to a direct response to an earlier post. I.e., 800 SAT math is perhaps noteworthy, taking the SAT as a HS junior is nothing unusual.

    OTOH, if you prefer me to expound further on the SAT, I am willing to share my thoughts and what I’ve learned. I know there are several regulars here with rising juniors and sophomores (or perhaps they’ve already started the new school year and thus are juniors and sophomores) who might be interested.

  101. Louise – I had the same thought when I read Hillbilly Elegy, his description of her didn’t fit the impression of her I had in my mind based on media. I think I have revised my opinion some. I thought it was a very enlightening book on so many levels.

    My DD starts her Senior year of HS in a few weeks and will be 18 a few weeks after. For her it was good to have that extra year, I don’t think she is quite ready for college but will be just fine next year. I on the other hand am feeling old and like a stage of my life is coming to an end at a faster and faster state.

  102. BAM– our DS similarly is old enough that in another situation, he might be packing for college now. I have no doubt that he would be perfectly capable of handling it now, but I have doubts about DW and me being capable of handling that now.

  103. Bay Area and Finn – based on my own parents’ experience it is hard with the first child leaving. However, there is still a household with more children so the other children have an opportunity to get closer to their parents. There are a lots of conversations with my parents now, which begin with….after you left….they had/have their own lives after my departure.

  104. Finn – with a rising high school junior, I am always interested in hearing what you have to think about the SAT! DD is using the Khan Academy to prep for the PSAT this Fall. Hopefully it’s helping.

  105. And HM – I love those Nancy Mitford quotes. I’ve never read any of her books – you just inspired me to request Pursuit of Love from the library.

  106. My son and I both have our doubts about his college readiness in four years, hence my comment about a possible gap year.

  107. SSM may have opened the floodgates…

    Should I expound on my SAT thoughts now, or would it be better as a topic for another day?

    CS, four years is a long time for you DS to become college ready. However, it may not be long enough for you.

  108. Finn – if Coc agrees College Prep could be its own page just like the election pages. That way it will be easy to find posted information.

  109. I know a young woman who graduated this spring at 20, having started college at 16. She is working for a government agency in a technical field, and having some struggles adjusting both to a cross-country move and to a workplace where all of her colleagues are several decades her senior. Not an issue for me anymore, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when I talk to younger parents pondering whether to start their child “early” at kindergarten, or to skip a grade later on.
    Even though all of our kids went to DH’s university 15 minutes down the road, it was still a huge adjustment when they left. Unless your kids went to boarding school, you can’t really be “ready” for it. It just happens, and most of us seem to manage, eventually. My perspective changed after talking with some friends with seriously disabled children, who will NEVER be in the position to leave home, unless it is a supervised group residence. And some other parents, who told me that they were secretly thrilled when their kids started college, because of the whole “fouling the nest” thing that we fortunately were spared.

  110. “My perspective changed after talking with some friends with seriously disabled children, who will NEVER be in the position to leave home”
    Agreed. DH and I tell ourselves that if the boys weren’t leaving home, something would be seriously wrong, and we wouldn’t want that alternative life.
    But no rush. There’s quite a push to graduate early in our district. I don’t see the point, at least not for my kid.

  111. Scarlett, I agree with your point, but don’t think your young friend is the best poster child for it. If her new work colleagues are decades older than she is, it doesn’t really matter if she’s 20 or 22, does it?

    Finn, maybe I’m being too cautious, but seeing as going to overnights is hard for him because he doesn’t want to be away from me, it’s hard to imagine him doing the whole college thing in a few years. He did enjoy the camp where he learned C++ that was held on a local college campus last summer (even though he called me every. single. night.), which is why I was asking the other day if anyone knew of academic overnight weekend programs on college campuses. I think the key is finding things that he enjoys and is captivated by, so that my absence isn’t felt as strongly. One thing that bothers him at school is that he often feels other kids are in his classes because they have to be, and they don’t actually enjoy learning. It really helped that kids at the camp did enjoy what they were doing, so assuming other kids wanted to be there, an academic weekend would be great. The Duke weekends are on campus, and I assume the kids there want to be there, but they are no longer overnights, so he wouldn’t get the practice being away from me.

  112. CS – the Duke Tip program seems to be in line with your description and you may have already looked into it. Posters here had kids who qualified and attended, they seemed to have liked it.
    Mooshi had mentioned some academic camps, in the NY area that had overnight stay.
    The weekly camps I know of are all outdoorsy ones on lakes that would not be what you are looking for.

  113. Louise, the summer programs are on my radar, but the Duke TIP weekends during the school year are sadly no longer overnights. He’d get the academics and socializing with kids who like to learn, but not the sleep-away experience.

  114. And I would love, love, love for him to go to an outdoorsy camp, but he insists that spending a week just doing that stuff is “stupid”. Sigh.

  115. Montana State University had a summer program (aka nerd camp) that my daughter loved. They did academics in the morning and explored the area (aka goofed around) in the afternoon. She came home confident about her ability to go to college and is still in contact with the other kids she met there.

  116. CS, very few high school freshmen are ready to go away to college. There are amazing leaps in maturity from age 14 to 18. But if YOU are anxious about his ability to manage without you, he may be picking up on your feelings, so consider dropping the whole issue, including future summer campus opportunities, and focusing on the excitement of starting high school.

  117. I like Louise’s idea of a separate College prep page like the election page.

  118. “he often feels other kids are in his classes because they have to be, and they don’t actually enjoy learning.”

    CS- like the others said, he will mature a lot in 4 years and I am certain in college he will “find his tribe” like so many of us here have said

  119. CS, there are a lot of summer programs at various colleges for advanced HS students that are academically focused. Perhaps you might think about a day program like that next summer, and if he’s excited by that, then a week or weeks long program dorming at a college might be the next step.

    Someone here sent her DS to Stanford for one of those programs. I took my kids to a music program there a few summers ago that had a dorming option, and in the dorm next to the music building there was a weeklong sleepover coding program.

    You could look at Mooshi’s example too. She sent her kids to a bunch of summer programs aimed at certain interests, e.g., chamber music, coding.

  120. I will second the amount of maturity between entering HS freshmen and exiting seniors – my kids are 4.5 years apart but of similar temperament – world of difference in maturity etc.

  121. One of my middle daughter’s classmates wants to graduate early. His parents redshirted him. He also seems to have had a major maturity growth spurt in the past year and that seems to be playing a factor. All of my kids started on time, but were somewhat young for their grades. Only one will be eighteen when he starts college. Right now, with the oldest departing for college in a manner of days, I am really starting to see the appeal of redshirting kindergarteners.

    Any suggestions on not becoming a complete nutcase would be gratefully appreciated.

  122. “Unless your kids went to boarding school, you can’t really be “ready” for it. It just happens, and most of us seem to manage, eventually.”

    @Scarlett: Well, I guess in the same way pregnancy is 9 months long so the parents have sufficient time to get used to the idea, HS is 4 years long for the same reason. :-)

  123. Cordelia, BL, please keep us posted. Any hints on how to deal would be appreciated by those facing the same transition next year.

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