Category Archives: School

Much to learn.

Believing, Knowing, and Feeling

Like many parents, I’ve believed my daughter would be heading to college since before she was born.  She accepted an admissions offer months ago, so you could say that since then we’ve known not only THAT she would be going, but WHERE.  But it became real on a different level one night in August.watermarked-14494879_10210688146509269_3666155225609929744_n

We had just gotten back from vacation, and while we were away at the beach her year-round swim club had held the final practice of what had been her final season with the team.  I was having a routine evening when all of a sudden she volunteered:

“I texted Coach to ask if I could practice with the team when I’m home on breaks.  He said they would love to have me there.”

And that’s when I felt it.  A deep sense of quiet.

I’m happy for her and a little envious of the adventure she’s heading into.  I loved college, and I hope she does, too.  But that’s when it became real.

She’s only going one state north, maybe 2 hours or so away, and since she’ll be swimming for the school I’ll have easy excuses to drive up to visit once in a while.  So we’ll see her.  But…

In one of the books I used to read her when she was tiny–I can’t remember which one, but if it rings a bell, please help me out with a comment–one of the very young characters “got kind of quiet” for a few minutes when a situation became unexpectedly real.

I’m there.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, College, School, Transitions, Uncategorized

Brackish Water

IMG_20150710_140848109Our oldest, 20 years old, is off living the college life she has dreamed about since she was a little girl.  I couldn’t be happier for, or prouder of, our young lady:  She is excelling in the classroom and representing her school on the volleyball court.  But there is one major drawback:  She is doing it all a 6+ hour drive from home.

Her sister, 17, is a high school senior.  College acceptance letters are arriving and she is swapping calls and texts with the schools’ coaches as she tries to find the right match where she will be happy on campus, in the classroom, and in the pool.  Family life is a little simpler now that she can drive herself to school and to practice.  But that means we don’t see her quite as much, and I worry about her getting from place to place safely.  Again:  pride, happiness…and a little melancholy.

Now the boy, who is 12, still counts on us to get him from place to place, to attend his events, to help with his homework.  He will be as tall as I am in the next couple of years, but clothing size aside, he is still very much a kid.  Right now, seeing how fast it has all gone by with his sisters, I am well aware that I need to savor the soccer matches, the school concerts, and the swim meets, because if I blink he will be off to college himself.

We haven’t done it all perfectly, but I believe we have done it well.  Each of them is happy; the girls have succeeded in creating options for themselves, and the boy is on a good path.  Like most kids, each has hit routine bumps along the way; but in many ways each has had the best year of his/her life over the last 12 months or so.

So if it’s ALL going well, why write about it?  Well, truth be told, while the kids seem to be on track, their parents are struggling a little with the transition in everyone’s roles within the family.  It seems all too soon that we are seeing the girls leading their own lives in important ways and our role changing from supervising to advising.  And the boy is right behind them.

Again, all too soon, the three of them will be living under other roofs, always needing us, but never in the same way as when they were little.  Right now, we are somewhere in between.  And learning to swim in this brackish water is a combination of gratifying, sad, nostalgic, and a little scary.

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Filed under Appreciation, College, Education, School, Transitions

College Search–Round 2

Now that Big Sister is well through her second semester of her freshman year, we’re gearing up for our next college search.  But this one’s different.

Big Sister KNEW with absolute certainty that she wanted to go to a big school–until she realized, fairly late in the game, that she wanted the sense of community that comes with a small school.  Little Sister, who is now in her junior year of high school, KNOWS she wants a fairly small school, believing she’ll feel more comfortable and secure.

Big Sister spent years playing club and high school volleyball, but heading off to school last August she was clear that she did not plan to play in college as a freshman; she thought she might walk on as a sophomore–which seemed reasonable at her new, small (Division III) home.  Plans change:  Less than 2 weeks later, she was on the school team.  Little Sister is a swimmer.  In fact, she is never happier
than when she is in the pool.  Missing practice makes her cranky.  She knows she wants to swim in college.

She also knows that while with her current times she could get picked up by a Division I team, she would be near the bottom of the team roster and might not be included on the travel team for every meet.  But her times would place her firmly in the top half of quite a few Division II teams the day she arrives on campus.  (She also knows several Division I schools have dropped swimming in the last few years to save money….which is another worry.)

It is worth mentioning that Little Sister has learned from 2 local swimmers that the Division I vs. Division II choice is important–and personal.  She knows an exceptional swimmer who went to the most competitive Division I school (s)he could, and who was completely happy to be included on the roster for only some of the travel meets.  On the other hand, she knows another talented swimmer who chose the Division II route, also completely happy, starting a college career solidly in the middle of the roster this year as a freshman, participating every time the team is in the pool.  Little Sister knows that to her, swimming trumps status (Division I, big conference school, etc.), so she wants to find a school where she will be guaranteed the opportunity to swim full-time for her entire 4 years if she chooses.  She has created a long list of mostly D-II schools.

So–at least for now, knowing that the search could change as we go–we are looking for a school where 1) she will feel safe  2) she will get a good education, and 3) she can compete in the pool.

I am looking forward to going with her on this ride.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, College, Education, School