Archive for September, 2009

Life Changes

September 14, 2009

My daughter went away to college at the end of the summer.  It was the biggest change of her life.  What has happened since has surprised me, and probably surprised her too.

The girl who left our house was opinionated but insecure.  She depended on us to push her forward.  She needed us to reassure her of her own strengths.  At the same time, she could be judgmental of others without really understanding.  I was afraid that she would get to her new school, and her new home, and become even more insecure and judgmental.  I was prepared for her to find reasons to not like the people she was surrounded by.  I was expecting long phone calls about how she couldn’t do the work she was being asked to do.  She was afraid of the unknown, and I was afraid of what I thought I did know.

What has happened has been something that I never expected.  That became clear on the first night that we left her at her new apartment.  I called just before we got home, expecting her to be anxious and feeling alone.  Instead, she asked if she could call me back later since she was hanging out with her roommates.  Who was this person I was talking to?  I was suppose to tell her that things were all going to be ok, and she was letting me know that SHE was in the middle of making that true without me.  Don’t misunderstand, I wasn’t upset, I was proud.  The very best thing she could have said to me was exactly what she said!  And, it’s gotten better.

She loves her roommates.  They may be very different from her, but that’s ok.  They may do things that she doesn’t do and not do things that she does, and it’s still ok.  I hope they can be friends for a lifetime, and she probably does too.

The first days of classes were daunting.  Riding the shuttle to campus, finding her classes, buying her books, meeting the teachers and sitting in a class with complete strangers.  Again, I expected the worst.  Again, I didn’t know the strength of my daughter.  She thought her teachers were nice.  She felt secure in her own abilities.  Again, I thought “Who is this girl?”  The girl who left my house just a few days earlier was not the person I was talking to on the phone.  Where was the insecurity?  Where were the tears, and doubt, frustration and anger?   Well, remember how I’ve always said that the person you are now will not be the person you are as you grow older?  My own daughter has created that very picture.

Alix is not the same person that left my home a few weeks ago.  The new lifestyle and new people in her life have added to her character, pushed her in new directions, and opened her eyes to things she couldn’t see when her dad and I were always in the background.  She is becoming who she wants to be and not being pressured into being who we want.  We’ve had to give up the control that we thought we had, and she’s taken over without us.  And, that’s a very good thing.

Your life will be full of changes.  Like Alix, you’ll think you know what’s coming and sometimes be afraid but you won’t really understand until you get there.  You’ll meet people who will make you see life through different eyes.  You’ll find your own strength and character.  Some of it you may expect, and some will surprise you beyond what your experience now will let you.  So, don’t give up on yourself.  The things that seem so daunting now won’t even be a memory later.  What you think that you’re lacking will either become unimportant or you’ll find it’s been there all along.  Hey, it’s going to be ok, and maybe even a really great ride.