Joanna: There They Go
As unlike your senior year experience is as compared to my own, one thing is similar. Getting mentally prepared for going out on my own was tough. The things you do consciously and unconsciously to enable yourself to take that step are almost archetypal in their commonness. I want you to know, now that I see it from the vantage point of a father rather than a son, that it's difficult, necessary, important, emotional and beautiful from this side of the aisle as well. I want to say that I think it's possible to enjoy your last full year at home and still be ready and fortified for the adventure of college life. Our job and obligation as parents has always been to prepare you for this point. How'd we do? I don't really know but I'd say we didn't do too bad! Never be afraid to take a chance, be yourself and love and be loved.
This year is / will be full of little milestones; little points of light that illuminate the road you've traveled and hit at the road that lies ahead. Now, as always, it's a question of life in the moment. Taking care of business, trusting in the future. You can't hold onto this Senior year, you can't slow it down or speed it up. Your friends, like you, are part out there and part inside themselves thinking, planning, hoping. You've touched so many people on your short trip to date, probably more than you know. And you'll keep on affecting people as you go on from here. Make your own choices, consider your strengths and use them to their fullest.
A somewhat disjointed string of thoughts this morning Joanna. Every one a separate theme I could have expanded on. Instead, I touched each one like a prayer. I love you!
This is your class year - 2006! Ring it in loud! Ring it in proud! After a long stretch of house guests it feels strange (good) to be sitting home by myself writing to you this morning. Essays, applications seem so "yesterday." Waiting, working, dancing almost tripping through the winter now - eye on the spring. Time flies by. It always does. Blink and it's tomorrow. You have chosen your list of candidates for your reasons and now they will choose you for theirs. Feel, love, work, be happy, enjoy, cherish, hold on, let go, fly (home).
Second half time now - downhill fast. Stay loose and keep your weight back. It's a long way to go to the last page of this chapter of (in) the book of life... of your life, so stay focused. I say the end of this chapter but there really is no "end" per se. Your life will just roll on and on through one stage to the next. School years are some of the shortest, most defined stage of your life. How will you define the years after college? As your 20s? Your 30s? Your child rearing years? Who knows? I know that right now your high school ship is heading into the harbor. As the years go by I think you will look back on this time at BC as a good time in your life. Hopefully a good time that prepared you for the good times ahead. I love you so much!
Always there are things worth fighting for. Dreams worth striving for. Friends worth sharing. Strangers worth helping. Lovers worth loving. People worth forgiving. Never stop looking inside yourself for what you are really meant to do. Never stop looking around you for what needs doing. Shake the hand that helps you and offer your hand to help others. Go out the door each morning with your dreams on the tip of your brain and thankfulness in your heart. Work for the things. Want these things. Live for love.
Taking steps to the door marked "Exit" on one side and reaching for the handle on the door on the other side marked "Entrance." There's quite a few steps left to take actually, classes, tests, breaks, softball, internships, an 18th birthday. Take all these steps slowly. Savor them like your favorite food. Enjoy them, even the hard ones, they'll never come again. Nothing ever comes again and we never seem to appreciate our time when we have it. But try to anyway. Not to hold onto things that are fleeting, but to appreciate and experience them wholly, share them, enjoy them, and let them go and carry them with you as you walk through the next of many doors. Have love. Have faith. Have hope. Have fun.
You know, how easy it will be to deal with your goin' away to college is not the point for me right now. I'm sure it will be hard for me, but I think I understand something of the natural order of things and I will be able to deal with it. I'm more invested in you right now to worry about me. I'm so proud of the young woman you're turning into right before my eyes. And I'm hopeful that the right one of all these colleges you've poured your heart and dreams into will recognize and appreciate and want that same young woman too. I'm patient; I'm livin life one day at a time; I'm watching the trees for signs of spring; I'm enjoying these days. I hope you are too.
None of us ever can know what is in store for us in our lives. It's just not possible to know the future. All we can know or seek to know, is our own selves and what goals will make our souls grow and expand to our fullest capacity. Sure we have dreams, we make plans that depend on other people to come true, but the important goals are ours and ours alone to achieve. You have to look inside yourself and find the path that you alone must walk. Right now you're at the threshold of your college career. You chose your schools to apply to and now they've all responded. You have your choices but are any of them where you really want to end up? If not, then choose the one that will better prepare you to apply again to a school you really want next year. It's your career. It's your dream. Don't settle for anything less than your hearts desire. I love you so much!
So U of A it is! I'm so happy for what I know will be a fabulous adventure of discovery and growth. There will be plenty of challenging work, new friends, new experiences, new ideas for exploration and fun in the sun as well. The selection process was a long and necessary road to walk and you walked it well. I can feel your comfort at your selection. I can feel the "rightness" of it as a starting point for your higher education. Now all that's left is a few exams, an internship, and a softball championship. I love you so much!
There's a fine line sometimes between happy and sad. As fine as a thought of leaving home. As thin as a plan for new friends in a new place. It's as plain as the nose on your face. I know. Everyone knows. The stages of life, the changes of venue, the comings the goings the goodbyes the hellos. Finish strong and move along. It's all you can do. It's what you must do. Don't worry, your Brooklyn tail will wag behind you wherever you roam. It will always be home. Go ahead and be sad and be happy. You deserve both! Love you so much.
Work, like anything else you can think of, is what you make of it. (Picking up a theme here?) Go on out there and try things - that's how you learn about yourself and the world, but whatever you try give it your all, see what's really there, what the limits are, what the applications to your life lie inside. Lots of options, most of which may not be appropriate but don't settle for anything because it's easy, choose it because it's right. I love you so much Joanna.
Appreciate your life. Be thankful for your good fortune. Share your gifts. Help those around you to realize their own gifts. It's because we "stand upon the shoulders of giants" that we can see so far. Look for opportunities to grow. Look for opportunities to share your love.
Remember that everyone in the world feels as you do, that they're special and deserved and loved. Everyone has the same rights as you, but everyone is not as fortunate, blessed, loved, gifted. Be kind. What a gift kindness is to both give and receive. Be kind! I love you so much!
Its your world now - your choices, your dreams, your path to walk. I'm here, mom's here - whatever we have done we did because we thought it was best. Whatever we can continue to do we will - we always will. We won't change too much - what you see is what you get with us - and I'm sure that some of what we are will be what you need from time to time. Life isn't always a straight line from point A to point B. It loops de loops and zigs and zags and goes forward and returns. It's the great thing about life I think. You can look back and follow the path, but looking ahead it's only til the next turn. Just keep your eyes on the prize and put one foot in front of the other and you'll be OK!
"The East" with its mass of people and history and old buildings - small and huge - dense, teeming, diverse, chaotic, frenzied is home - at least it's always been home for you - for us. (Me? I grew up all over the place - every 2 or 3 years a new town, a new school, new friends - very different than your experience). But "the West" is a cool place (in a hot way) and I think you'll love it's "differentness," its open spaces, its huge sky, its warmth, its people, and all the other differences you've yet to discover, and will discover, for yourself. You can't help being nervous about it all - and excited too I hope. Just let the feelings flow through and do what you gotta do and you'll be fine. I love you so much!
What a metaphor a bridge is! The connection from one place, one state of mind, to another. The path that lets you crossover. Do you need a bridge this summer? What will it be? Summer itself? Time? People? A job? Your family? Walk on out over the water Joanna, just put on your walking shoes and hit the road. Open your eyes while you go. See what you're leaving and where you're going. Remember your way home!