This is reposted from early 2010 since it blew up with an earlier blog.
Okay, I'm sure it wasn't as big a deal for her, but yesterday was special for me. I drove my youngest daughter to an open house for accepted grad students at a college about 90 minutes from home. She's been accepted at two good schools and wait-listed at another. Smart kid.
The morning began with breakfast at a diner before we hit the road. She was dressed in business casual clothes and had on real shoes and makeup. She looked great. No big deal you think for a 21 year old college senior. Oh contraire. This is a kid who wore almost nothing but sweats, sneakers and flip flops for the first 18-19 years of her life. She played basketball and soccer through high school and then continued soccer in college, so had lots of athletic wear, but not a great deal of variety in street clothes.
I always pictured her older sister, also an athlete for most of her life, as the hard working serious student. She will graduate from Optometry school fourth in her class in June. Take a closer look dummy (nickname my brother gave me). Little One (my nickname for her) is entering a serious Masters program and is already looking ahead to doctoral programs at other institutions. Wait; when did the quick-as-a-cat athlete with the brains to generate grades without an outward appearance of hard work, turn into a serious student with a definite career plan? Long before I was smart enough to recognize it, I assure you.
Life hasn't been too bad for me so far. I will always have doubts about some of the choices I've made regarding career - such as it is - and some of the bizarre personal decisions in my portfolio, but there is no doubt that seeing these two terrific young women grow up has been a privilege. I say with no false modesty at all that their mother, and their own strength of character, is the reason they have become who they are. I am thankful to have been along for the ride.
I sometimes think about how fast it has gone and will often tell them both how much I miss them when they were younger; and I was smarter and more relevant. I then think of something my mother said late one night when my brother and I were having one of our after dark talks. She told us how much she enjoyed being around us as young adults. We could discuss books that contained words of more than one syllable and form opinions about important topics. That has now happened with my girls; and is not such a bad thing after all. They have discovered most of my faults and, shall we say, idiosyncrasies by now and accept them for what they are. We sometimes have those interesting conversations I remember having with my mother and brother. They will always roll their eyes at some of my words and actions, but are becoming more tolerant of the weirdness as they get older.
I'm still not prepared to be a responsible member of society except when absolutely necessary, but I certainly don't mind being known as my daughters' dad. When they turn out as well as these two have, it is certainly good for the image to be associated with them, rather than some of the people and experiences before they came along and changed my life.