... turn twenty-two when I least expect it, although I've known for years we were headed just this way. Twenty-two.
Big number. For a petite adult.
Emily's graduation from her post high school program is just around the corner. A matter of two weeks away. While I find myself excited for her, the birthday princess who loves all birthdays, old, young and in between ...
... I find myself reflecting on sleepless nights, worried days, harried meetings, forms, forms and more forms and realize with a start -- it isn't over yet.
To the left of my laptop sits a form letter with a form underneath. I need to complete this form and mail it in asap. The good parochial student in me will not let me start the form until I read from beginning to end; to be sure I understand the questions and also know the answers. I take note that the form is not all that long. But it is daunting. There are questions here I have no idea what the answer should be. What is EES? What is MRC? SGA? Pass Plan?
Good grief. Who can I call to help me? Oh forget it, I'll figure it out. Sooner rather than later, I hope.
I look at Emily and I am so proud of the young woman she has become. She is loyal, oh-so-loyal to family and friends and works hard and tries hard and lives well. And energetically.
I'd like to be more like her and less like me some days.
Her plans for her future? Well, marry Steven, of course. That is a far off dream. She, and he, have so much to learn before they can step off in that direction. Setting an alarm clock, telling time, grocery lists and grocery shopping, banking and money management, laundry, cooking, transportation. All the acts of daily living we do without thinking, they need to learn and learn and learn some more, because if they don't, they won't be successful. But what, exactly, is success? Is success found in only those things she can do without help? Or is it found in her acceptance that she needs help? I think a little of both.
Emily is a life long learner. That's a good thing, right? Isn't that what most of us strive to be?
I'm glancing at the form again and finally recognize that in some small way I've been sort of hoping forms would go away when twenty-two arrived too soon. Just a small dream, a fleeting thought that somehow twenty-two and being 'all grown up' would make all the rest of her challenges go away.
I want to watch Barney, and Arthur and see her eyes light up when she learns something new and knows she has. I want to put her in that little pink bathing suit and go to the town beach and splish and splash and enjoy a warm summer day. Just one more little girl summer day. Heat from the sun caresses your skin while the sand is cool on your feet and the noise of water lapping the shore lulls you to relax, step back, enjoy each moment.
What do I see for Emily's future? Next year? The year after? Five years from now? I don't know. I can't imagine her not living at home and yet I know that sometime down the road, it's the step that needs to be taken. Because keeping her with me, with us, will be holding her back. It would be keeping her from living her own life.
Do I want to look that far ahead? Oh no. Not at all. I want to stay right here. Two weeks from graduation.