I thought it would be a good idea to give fair warning in the title to all my friends who are about to embark on the road trip to graduation.
College graduation? Really? How could that be, she looks too young to have a child that age.
What? She doesn’t look so young? Oh right, she just thinks she does. Because she displays adolescent behavior she still feels like she herself is a college student. AND she is a little nuts with this talking in the third person thing. Ah, cut her some slack, her kid is graduating!
Ok, kiddies, here goes:
Four years? Has it actually been four years since I sat at this very keyboard and banged out the High School graduation post that brought us all to our knees? I suppose so, for as I look down at this keyboard I see that the passage of time has worn away any visible signs of both the ‘i’ and ‘n’ keys. (Odd, I know. There must be some significance to those letters, but it escapes me)
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this next rite of passage for my first born. At the beginning it seemed to not be such a big deal; certainly not compared to the emotions of her High School graduation. Sending a child off into the world felt monumental. It was the first step on the long journey of letting go. A tape loop of the curly-headed little whirling dervish danced in my head as I thought of leaving her halfway across the country.
She was SO ready.
I was so NOT.
For the most part we both did really well with it… until the first time she got sick and I felt just how far Madison, Wisconsin was from home. But she survived. And so did I. With flying colors, actually.
As graduation grows closer, the ‘not such a big deal’ theory is starting to get some holes in it. Who the hell am I kidding? I cry at Applebee’s commercials for G-d sake! I sent a 19-year-old kid off to college and this amazing young woman is coming out on the other end. It was like some crazy science experiment… 2 parts Badger, 1 part personal navigation and a 100 inches of snow a year. Shake well, supply digital equipment, a warm coat, a semester abroad, a shoulder to cry on when needed (aka, bitch too) and wait 4 years to see what it morphs into.
And morph she did! She is one of the few people on this earth that can put me in my place and not piss me off while she is doing it. She makes me laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh. She has my warped sense of humor tempered with a level head and a kind heart that floors me more often than not.
Did I mention she and her 80 lbs. of shoes (20 lbs a year) are moving back home. I suppose getting her back makes it easier than letting her go.
Sort of. But as much as she loves us, and our home, we are not foolish enough to think that this is where she wants to be. And as soon as her next chapter begins she will move out… for good this time.
Ouch. Sort of.
Here’s the thing (which BTW is the phrase she always used as a teenager to preface a difficult discussion… ironic). It is time for Miss Jana to become who she will be. And, like most young people her age there is a part of her that is scared to death. So this is for you my sweet girl:
I have always told you that you can do anything that you set your mind to (except maybe pee standing up… that one is tough). You can. Not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up – most of my friends still don’t. The most important thing is that you just keep growing up – for the rest of your life. And equally as important, never forget the wonders of being young. Passions will find their way to you. Necessity will rear its looming head and drive you to reach your goals. Life is funny.
When you least expect it, you find yourself just where you should be.