Are You Entering Menopause While Simultaneously Your Kid Is Applying To College? A Quiz.

Are You Entering Menopause While Simultaneously Your Kid Is Applying To College? A Quiz.
Photo via Pexels.

by Liz Bastos.

During what’s become a recurring 2 a.m. life review do you:

  1. Wake with terror that you should have figured out what a 529 is instead of putting it off because you are “a poet” and “not a numbers person.”
  2. What’s a life review?

You subscribe to The Chronicle of Higher Education to put your finger on the “opinions” of “top minds” on “the issues.” After you read an article, do you:

  1. You're so forgetful. You forget it. “Mom,” your son says, “the phone you’re looking for like a 19th-century hysteric, you are on. That’s how you’re talking to me, you lugnut!” You think proudly, "Wow, he really is ready to study English at Vassar."
  2. Cogently talk about the article at a dinner party that continues past 9 p.m.

Joe Biden says soon well-paying jobs won’t require a college degree. About this you feel:

  1. The f*ck, Joe?  How soon?  Which jobs? Is one of them “gestures vaguely in the direction of marine mammals” because the ink is still wet on the financial aid agreement with the University of Miami for your son to study dolphin something. Will a bill be passed to render that legal contract magically erased, null, and non-binding in favor of whatever it is that you’re planning, sir?
  2. Great. Good for Joe Biden. "Soon" is fine.

You’ve had The Dream, like the portentous noodle dream from Kung Fu Panda, except it's about First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. You wake from it and say to your son:

  1. “If Northern Virginia Community College is good enough for Dr. Biden, then Jesus Christmas, Junior, it’s good enough for you.”
  2. “Want to watch a classic animation from the early aughts?”

You’ve had a drenching  night sweat. Do you:  

  1. Rummage in the top drawer of your dresser in the dark of the early morning for a dry nighty only to realize there is no dry nighty, you forgot to do laundry, (you’re so forgetful), so you mop your brow with admissions brochures that you’ve collected in the drawer because you like the writing of some of them and plan to spoof it for a humor magazine (as an empty nest hobby). It’s beshert, you think groggily, this luxurious, thick rag paper, it’s so absorbent. However, the brochures’ ink comes off  when wet (it’s not so Ivy League after all!), and you have to spend two weeks alive on Earth with a smudged Ver*I*Tas Harvard shield on your forehead with its three books open.
  2. Have no idea what I’m talking about.

You rewatch The Sopranos for:

  1. Tips for how Carmela got  Meadow into Columbia.
  2. The top-shelf  acting of James Gandolfini. Really, no other show in the last 20 years  comes close.  RIP, Tone.

You're a Midwestern liberal, but your kid wants to go college in Florida. You launch into a tirade about book banning and bodily autonomy and after you’ve finished spluttering, your kid responds:

  1. “Most books are stupid, and every wife needs a wife, Mom, you’ve said it yourself.”
  2. “Mommy, I’m seven.” [Bursts into tears.] “You’re scaring me.”

“Those FAFSA forms can crawl into a hole and die, you elite New England motherfucker,” is:

  1. Something you’ve said on the phone with a Boston-area college financial aid office student intern doing their summer work study.
  2. Is “New England” that far-off, back-in-time place where they murdered whales? You couldn’t locate Massachusetts on a map. What’s a cod? The farthest East you’ve ever been is Minneapolis. And the people there were not elitist, they were niceta meetcha, what can I do ya for types. But then, you know, you get what you give. You’re a real nice person yourself.

Liz Bastos is a laminated pastry lover and a Northern Virginia middle-aged mother on Twitter as @Liz__Bastos and on Medium @croissanthaver.