Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last night was orientation for all incoming freshman at the local high school. "Surreal" does not describe the feeling of sitting on the bleachers in the gym, surrounded by pennants in Warrior colors and anxious, acne-ridden kids, doused in fluorescent lighting, knowing (but not yet fully comprehending) that you're here for your kid. Your baby.

Joining Facebook recently probably doesn't help, because it has brought an immediacy to high school — your high school — that you haven't felt in over 20 years. Friends, acquaintances, people you knew in passing, people you wanted to know — they're all there, suddenly, their lives open to you with the swipe of a finger across the track pad, looking just about how you remembered them, with kids of their own, and jobs and mortgages and... grown up stuff.

You loved high school, loved your classes and friends, loved going to the games and watching football practice, loved being a part of a community of people at a time when the world was right there, at your fingertips, waiting for you to explode into it, to wake up to your potential, to turn everything to gold with your touch, simply because you believed it was possible.

Now, it's your daughter's turn, and you want the same — better — for her. You want her to feel connected, unlimited. You want her to know the heartache of a major crush, and the comfort that comes with sharing that ache with a close friend. You want her to thrill at the smell of new textbooks and the first shavings from a pencil, and to know that it's okay to geek out over stuff like this. You want her to look forward to her classes and to find that teacher who will find something in her, and seek her out, and send her on a life path that she will follow until it's physically impossible for her to do so anymore.

In a matter of months, she'll walk that campus for the first time as a freshman, moving forward into her own future, little by little, moving away from childhood, more and more. Already, you're talking about what courses she should take to prepare for a UC school, which means that college will probably come faster than anything that's come before. She's excited and terrified and ready and reluctant, and so are you. Her orientation last night marked the being of yet another reorientation in your life, and all you can do is cross your fingers, take a deep breath, and say "thank you." For what is, what has been, and what is surely to come.
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