Friday, June 6, 2008

A new beginning

Our oldest niece is graduating this weekend. At more than double her age, it is hard to relate with what this year's grads are feeling. But at the same time, it was like yesterday when I sat in the hot football field in Tennessee for my diploma.

I know our niece faces most of the same challenges we did, mostly what is her next chapter in life. My brothers and I all hit the college scene. My oldest brother (grad's dad) was the first to go away. He was about 2 hours away and I know my mom cried really bad. My dad said "it was good for him" – first born boy attitude. This brother did very well in school and went to a good school for his engineering mind. He worked his butt off and even took summer courses to get through faster. I am a couple of years behind, so I enjoyed being the "oldest" while finishing high school.

My turn came and I chose a liberal arts state school an hour away. My other choices were knocked down quickly by my dad, as one was an art school and the other was in the same town as a naval base. My parents influenced all 3 of us on where we went because they paid for our schooling. As an adult, I realize just how rare that is.

My youngest brother hit school 10 years after my older brother. My dad told us the cost for him equaled what he paid for us 2 older kids. I have no clue how much a credit hour costs today. No wonder there are so many people in their 20's and 30's still paying off their school loans.

Our niece will be graduating in a big auditorium tomorrow in Indiana. I have no idea why I had to go on the football field on a June day in Tennessee. I remember how my mom made me wear a dress under the cap and gown. An argument she won. And I remember saying no one would notice if I had a tshirt and shorts on or not. And most of my class wore just that. But not me, I had to wear a dress. Me, in a dress. I wonder if the way I started to dress in college had anything to do with that moment? (holey jeans, over-sized shirts and white, high top Chuck Taylors)

We're missing tomorrow's commencement, but will be there for the party afterward. I don't even remember if I had a party or not. If I did, it must've been pretty tame. But we'll be in Indiana to see our niece off to her new beginning. I hope her mom doesn't make her wear a dumb dress.

No comments: