On a perfectly sunny day a week ago, my younger daughter graduated on the quad of her college, the same college I graduated from many–ahem–years ago.
If anyone has lived her time to the fullest at our alma mater, it was definitely her. She excelled academically as well as partook in service opportunities to better the world and made lifelong friends. She did research and worked with autistic kids and her GPA despite all of this activity was through the roof.
Her mother, on the other hand, was a bit more lopsided and definitely less well rounded. I spent a large part of my time holed up in a building that has since been razed, studying my brains out with occasional breaks to be social. All that work accomplished my goal of getting into grad school. But looking back, I could have had a bit more balance, a little less terror that I wasn’t going to make it. But what can I say, some of us are just more tightly wound than others and fortunately, my daughter seemed to find that elusive balance with amazing ease.
That’s okay. In all my nerdiness, I loved this place. I grew up there, got my heart a little bruised a little, showed myself how I could work hard and survive. It was a great place to spend a college career. Having this opportunity to be able to walk the campus again and reminisce about my times there and share the ceremonies and traditions with my daughter has been…priceless 🙂
I was surprised when my daughter called me one day during her first year there and asked if we could “buy a brick.” I was very touched that she would even want to do this–i.e., purchase a brick on a new patio area the university created near a beautiful fountain. (The idea is to buy one and get your name carved on it.) So on her grad day, we visited “our brick”, the one that has my name and grad year and her name and grad year. I have often stepped over that brick these past few years and thought, that damn brick will likely be here long after I’m gone. And my daughter will look at it and remember our bond of being alumnae at the same special place.
It’s thrilling to me to share a place that I have such great memories of with my daughter, who feels the exact same way about it that I do.
From the first day she set foot on campus, my daughter’s dream was to graduate on the quad, always an iffy prospect with Northeast Ohio spring weather. My own graduation on a very rainy day was indoors, so I missed out. But the day last week was spectacular, and wouldn’t you know, I got a second chance through her, sitting on the quad on a brilliantly sunny day.
Life’s funny sometimes. So proud of you, Baby Girl. Go get ’em. I know you will.