I am certainly not alone in my parental pride, millions, perhaps jillions, of parents have such feelings. I see, though, such a wonderful mix of positive traits in this woman I know as my daughter – such a strong desire to be as much as she can be within physical reason. She, an only child, had a pretty normal upbringing – Montessori school, gymnastics, and swim lessons - all before she was five. Then we moved, and she started elementary school. For her sixth Christmas she received a bike – took to it easily and regularly toured the neighborhood, making friends as she rode. Piano lessons were added to her repertoire, plus an experience on a soft ball team. Music, though, was a big part of her life – choir from 1st grade on, and then, middle school band. During third grade, her dad and I divorced. She and I moved again, just as she began high school. To her great credit she was open to the move and adapted quite well making friends courageously; being on the swim team helped. She was cheerful and a very pleasant, loving child who did “push the envelope” when she saw opportunity (especially in high school.) I was blessed to have such an experience with my one and only, and I am still blessed. I guess her dad and I tried to provide as equal a blend as possible of free time and structured time, and we tried to understand her interests – we may not have always succeeded, but we tried. We encouraged studiousness, but did not push for the “A’s”.
After high school, though, she was pretty much on her own. College was a definite change from her previous life – the independence, the need to make one’s own decisions, surfaced. The wings she had sprouted grew stronger. I will never know all of what she faced, I don’t want to know, now – since those years are passed and she remained above the law in her experiences – she confided when she felt the need. She came home summers and worked as a life guard. She did become an RA in her dorm, sang in one of her college choirs, joined a sorority (to which she still has affinity) and decided in her third year to move off campus, facing the responsibility of handling a rental property. The summer, just after college, she did a bike ride around Lake Tahoe for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. After that ride, she headed for a summer camp on the east coast to teach life-guarding at a Boy Scout camp. She then returned to the house in which she grew up. Since her dad had died three years earlier, it had been rented and cared for as well as could be expected – she had had to face though, the sorting and/or keeping of his many possessions. Added to this mix were physical challenges that continued daily – but, she bravely adapts to them. Finding a full time job was a trial, yet she pursued it with grace ultimately accomplishing her desires and ending up working at the same university her dad had. She gave it all her best.
She continued her love of bicycling and rode with a team to raise money for many causes, one year it was a MS 150. Bicycling wasn’t her only interest, she learned and began teaching Pilates and she coached triathlon contestants. Her desire for an advanced degree came to fruition as she earned a master’s in 2011. She maintained all of her interests and responsibilities for several years, contributing to the well-being of many in her town as she has a good sense of community. Gradually, though, she came to realize that she needed a different job. Moving from the academic world to the corporate world she now has opportunity to experience various settings and personalities. She handles herself with grace and aplomb. I have provided this litany because I am constantly amazed at her resourcefulness, her courage, her talent and her fortitude. She is thoughtful, humble, compassionate, intelligent, witty, charming, reliable, sensitive, forgiving and a general joy to be around. (Am I biased?)
She doesn’t give up, she isn’t a quitter – she gives things every opportunity. And now, one of her dreams, to obtain a doctorate degree, will also come true. She has been accepted in graduate school once again and in three years will have obtained an Ed.D. Since it is a distance learning situation, she can continue her full time job. Not only has she taken on more educational challenges, she will be experiencing a job relocation out of the country for five months. These things are only part of the reason I feel she will make a “mark” in this world. However, I know she has already made a “mark,” she has touched so many lives. But there will be more for her to contribute, and she will do so with the innovativeness she has exhibited and the dignity she always displays. Society may not be radically changed, but the people with whom she comes in contact will be the better for having known her. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful person as my daughter. I do not live vicariously through her, she is her own person, I mine, and she has many more talents than I – she is much better at her endeavors and will continue to grow. Her dad would be most pleased; I wish he were here to help me celebrate.