The day after a major holiday is usually the only 2 days I have a day off during the year, That is with the exception of Sundays, twice a month (depending on the season). I’ll probably blog about this at some point, but I digress. Those 2 days off are usually new years day and black Friday. If I am lucky enough to have my family at home, I always have this amazing fantasy that we will spend the day together, after I return from a much needed yoga class, cozying up together from breakfast time, throughout the entire day, and then into the evening, either perusing a movie, or catching up by the fireplace.
The truth is that this NEVER happens, as reality wins out, but I’m guessing that you already knew that was coming. There are platters, dishes, and wine glasses to wash and put away, tablecloths, kitchen towels, and pot holders to launder, the continuous loading, running, and emptying of the dishwasher, and the overall reinstituting of normalcy to put the house back together as much as allowed, give or take the number of visitors.
The kids sleep in, and I look in on them, cherubs that they are, peacefully recharging, contentment on their faces, hearts full, bellies happy, and I marvel how they have gotten this big, this independent, have lives of their own, and schedules to abide by, and I am grateful for their goals and accomplishments, and even give myself a little pat that I had a little something to do with their upbringing, and I didn’t mess it up completely. We all know, there are days as parents when we just KNOW we did that, so these moments restore my faith in my own humanity, even if few and far between.
I give them till 10 am, then 11, and then 12 before I begin to lose it…I’ve been taking care of the rest for hours and just want them to get up already…picture Christmas morning in households across the country with the kids and parents in reverse. I refrain from barging into their respective rooms, climbing onto their beds and clucking like a chicken, though the thought does cross my mind. I have one task that I used to “celebrate” new years day with every year, and need their assistance to do their part, but none of us have any desire to do it, and they KNOW it has to happen. And, thanks to the government, the FAFSA, as those of us affectionately call it, is now available October 1st (like anyone can get to it then or even wants to). I decide, by noon, to log onto the site on my own and wing it until I need their input. I mean, how bad can it be? We’ve done it several times before, but, alas, much like the pain of childbirth, I forget….
I boot up my laptop, arm myself with a copy of last year’s taxes, my previous log in info and past completion receipts, get online, type in FAFSA.GOV, and then, the fun begins..
The site, forever challenging my notes, my memory, my tax returns, and challenge questions, not to mention our unreliable Wi-Fi, manages to take a task that should take the returning user 10-15 minutes, straight to a complete melt down, a possible trip to the ER for a stress test and immediate admission to the cardiac care unit, all in under four hours….so much for 15 minutes. My cherubs, beckoned to assist, become beyond unreasonable, colorful in their language (which I despise immensely; My mother never let me use the word hate… “I despise that immensely or intensely…she preferred intensely.) and I admit to clearly being no picnic either, huffing and puffing, beyond frustrated, but the LAST thing we want to do after that is be together. What makes a site so challenging that it can, so easily, destroy the fabric of a family as we know it? I’m all for heightened security on a site that contains so much personal information, but, if I have all of that information, in addition to the answers to all 5 challenge questions, can’t they then presume that I’m their parent? I mean, what’s next….photos from their births? A copy of their tuition bills? Do we need to get matching tattoos? I mean, who would WANT to spend time on the site for fun? I can think of a plethora of things that might be more fun to do as a family, and none of them contain the initials FAFSA. Isn’t it enough that there are other things to take care of while they are home, like flu shots, dental cleanings, eye exams, and clothing alterations? Not to mention the dreaded answers to questions like “is your suit clean for the bar-mitzvah in a few weeks that you are soooo thrilled to be attending with us and the rest of your extended family because there is nowhere in the world that you’d rather be?! Oh, and did we mention that you’ll be sharing a room with us at the hotel because we knew we could torture you further? …Good times.
Personally, and I’m sure most parents will agree with me here, the whole site should just be reconfigured to be much more user-friendly…unlock a free glass (or four) of sangria with each question answered or section completed…earn a free night at an expensive hotel for overall completion, or even just provide a free movie ticket for each member of your household that you claim. If they did that, then immediately thereafter, you could each attend the movie of your choice without having to sit in the same theatre with each other…so much for quality time spent together…it’s a fantasy, but it seems like a plan to me.