Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend of mine. From the moment I laid eyes on her I could tell something was wrong. She just wasn't her normal bubbly self. At first I couldn't quite put my finger on the problem, but as soon as she mentioned something about being tempted to skip her own daughter's Baccalaureate, it hit me. The poor girl was suffering from a severe case of Senioritis.
Yeah, I know, you thought Senioritis affected kids who are graduating from high school, and you're right. But there is also another, more deadly strain of the disease, and this one affects mothers of kids who are graduating from high school.
Of course it's been a while since my last bout with it, but I remember it like it was yesterday. In my case, the early signs of Senioritis first appeared in the fall of my youngest son's last year in school. Suddenly I felt terribly lethargic and apathetic. I just couldn't get excited about anything. The thrill of making school lunches was gone. My response to "Meet the Teacher" night was, "Why?” I didn't even have enough energy to write a check to join the Booster Club.
I'd been told that these symptoms were quite common among sufferers of the disease, but still I was unprepared for them. I suppose it's because I didn't experience anything like this when my first child had graduated three years earlier. Quite the contrary, I was disgustingly jubilant about the whole business, celebrating the blessed event with luncheons and scrapbooks and huge banners in the front yard. I even addressed her announcements in calligraphy!
But with my youngest, I couldn't seem to get too whipped up about anything. I didn't want to attend a senior luncheon, much less host one. As for a scrapbook, forget it. Guys don't give a flip about that stuff, so why bother? And even though I ordered graduation announcements, I don't think I ever even got around to mailing them out.
Several of my friends caught Senioritis that year, too. At a meeting for the Senior Men's party, a volunteer was needed to coordinate food, ticket sales and chaperones. For a full thirty minutes we all just sat there, staring into our laps because not one of us wanted the job.
And there were other symptoms besides apathy, too. A stuffy head, for instance, which was the result of trying to keep too much stuff in my head, like "What time is the choir concert on Sunday?" or "Was I supposed to pick up Jason's prom tuxedo?" and "What'll I put in my ad for the Senior Show program?"
I found anxiety attacks to be a particular problem as well, especially late at night. Lying in bed staring at the ceiling fan, all kinds of worries would pop into my head. What if my son suddenly remembered he had one more semester of Spanish to take? What if his car broke down over the summer? What if the college dorms were all full and he ended up living in a warehouse by the railroad track with a guy who had a tattoo of a snake around his neck and went by the name, "Weed?"
As graduation got closer, even more symptoms developed. Having Senioritis meant that my chest tightened every time I thought about that special moment when my little boy would take that all-important walk across the stage to receive his diploma. And being his mother, naturally I couldn't help but pray that he wouldn't do something stupid like dropping his pants to moon the administrators!
I suffered from aching, too. Sometimes my arms ached to gather that big old long-legged boy onto my lap and rock him to sleep like I used to do when he was a baby. And my heart ached at the thought of hearing only silence coming from his room, instead of the sweet music of his guitar.
And then there were the watery eyes. They caught me at the most surprising moments, like when I heard him singing in the shower, or when he kissed me on the cheek after dinner and said, "You make the best spaghetti, Mom".
The good news is, as I found out, there is a cure for Senioritis – time. Within days after he crossed the stage I was completely cured. But for a while there, things were touch and go. In fact, just to show you how sick I was, I seriously considered hiring a stunt double to sit in my chair during that grueling three-hour graduation marathon.
As I was, I ended up going myself. After all, there was always a chance that someone else's son might moon the administrators, and I didn't want to miss that!