Her Biggest Fan

I got this text message this morning from my oldest, my college girl, my Aub.

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Where did the time go?  It seems like just yesterday this girl was prancing around Blackberry Flats, such a cutie patootie.  Full of vim and vinegar that one.

My girl in one of my favorite outfits from the consignment sale.  She could always make me laugh--still can.

My girl in one of the favorite outfits from the consignment sale. She could always make me laugh–still can.

I think about how just a few years after this picture was taken, she was at Yokota East Elementary school, a DODDS school on base in Japan.  I walked her to school in the mornings.  After a few weeks she asked me to start picking her up in the van (we lived five minutes away) because, she said, the school days just “wear me out.”  And so I did.  Many afternoons we stayed and she and friends played on the playground until they were ready to lock the gates.  Such beautiful days, much like this one, days filled with classes and art projects and Japanese culture class and book sales in the library.  I helped with class parties and was the assistant in her art classes.  If she had something going on, I was there.

Aub on a field trip with her Yokota East Elementary classmates and friends in a shirt my Mama and Daddy decorated for her.

Aub on a field trip with her Yokota East Elementary classmates and friends in a shirt my Mama and Daddy decorated for her.

And now, somehow time has slipped by, and I’m not.  There.  Physically.  But yes, I was still cheering her on today.  Even if she didn’t see my face going all goofy with pride over a job well done.

Today as I was cleaning out some drawers, I found a note tucked away that I had written her.  “Keep smiling.  You did great.”  And on the other side, “What’s for supper?”  When?  Ah yes, the county spelling bee in elementary school.  We went through several of those in her time.  I had written the note before we left that morning.  Because I knew that her just being up there was “great,” even if she were to go out on the first word she tried to spell.  And no matter how she did, she got to pick out what to have for supper.  Precious memories.

Later on this afternoon Aub and I were texting again and I suggested she could run an errand she needed to take care of this afternoon.

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And she sent me this back.  Another moment in my girl’s life that I’m not there as I used to be–snapping pictures, giving a thumbs up, cheering her on.  I was teasing her with that “comment o’ guilt” and she knew it.  But still, it hit me full force today that she has definitely moved on from the “Mama in the audience” phase of life.

Wow.

Wasn’t it yesterday that she was graduating from kindergarten?

 

My girl in her cap and gown graduating from kindergarten.

My girl in her cap and gown graduating from kindergarten.

Okay, maybe not.  Well then surely it was yesterday she graduated from high school, right?  Maybe last week?

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Almost a year, you say?  Do what?  I cannot believe it.  But there it is.  The calendar doesn’t lie, I guess.

 

I am so proud of my “sophomore.”  (Well, that is hard to say.)  She has worked hard, played hard, and found a new life in a new place to call home.  And the fact that I have great memories of the same place as my home brings me a special kind of joy.  In fact, we’ve just about determined that next year she will be living in the same room I lived in my freshman year.  That is just downright cool.

Aub and her alma mater

Aub and her alma mater

My girl knows how to stick to it.  :)

My girl knows how to stick to it. 🙂

For my girl, who “stuck” to it this year and did a great job, even when things got just about as hard as they could get–a big wink and thumbs up and “Whoo hoo” and all of those other things I’ve done to embarrass you as I sat in the crowd.  I’m always in the crowd, baby girl, and I’ll always be your biggest fan.  I learned from my biggest fan, you know.  Maemae never let me forget how much she loved me, and I hope you will always know how much I love you.

Way to go, boo–keep it up like this and you’ll be graduating before I know it.  *sigh*

Love this girl.

Love this girl.

 

Y’all, if you’ve got littles, go hug them.  I’m off to hug mine.  Before we know it, they’ll be graduating and doing their own thing, just like this one.

 

Love to all.

 

Don’t Blink

pic of aardvark day

Today I took my oldest to college to register for classes.  Wow.  When did that even happen?  Seriously, just yesterday I was up with her three-month old self for three hours straight because she wanted to play and would not go to sleep.  And today?  We’re registering for COLLEGE CLASSES?  The world has gone insane.

My Aub is going to my Alma Mater, Wesleyan College.  I’m thrilled, but it was completely and totally her choice, which brings me even greater joy.  She told someone today she’d wanted to go since she was five.  I think back to her pulling out my yearbooks that were almost too heavy for her to tote, then crashing on her bed, flipping through pictures of those good ol’ days.  In a year she will have a yearbook of her own filled with her first year memories.  Again, wow.

After we arrived, we sat downstairs in an area that used to be either the post office or the snack bar; I’ve gotten so turned around I can’t be sure.  We were asked to arrive early and wait for her name to be called.  They called her name and off she went.  Without me.  Big steps, people, big steps.  For me, that is.  She was fine.  I sat and worked on my challenge I’ve given myself–not to fiddle with my cell phone while waiting.  I’m trying to take in all around me and visit with folks when appropriate.  As I sat back in the chair, I heard voices carrying from around the corner.  It seemed to be a Dad talking to his daughter about her class schedule.

“See…..this is what you want here.  This will give you time to get up, exercise, shower, and then get ready for class…..” Dad said.

Whaaaaat?

Then Mom shared, “When your Day Planner arrives–it’s like your agenda from school–you can put all these in it.”

Hmmmmm.

Aren’t they cute?  I mean, really, couldn’t you just hug ’em?  I don’t know if I ever saw the family as it was starting to get crowded.  But if I’d seen them, I would have had to resist the urge.

Y’all are precious.  You think you’ve got her days mapped out just how they should go, AND that they are going to go just that way.

And they might.  For a few days.

I can remember days of 8:15 classes (good news, baby girl–now they’re backed up 15 minutes to 8 on the dot!), rolling out of bed, hairbrush, toothbrush, grab my books and roll–arriving in class with about two seconds to spare.  No breakfast, no exercise, no morning meditation.  I am sure this was not how my parents would have suggested I prepare for my days of learning, and it wasn’t how I started off my college experience, but it was what it was.

These young women have the opportunity to re-create themselves.  They get to try, if they want, being the person who gets up two hours before class, jogs, showers, meets friends for breakfast, and then on to class.  Or the person who wears yoga pants and t-shirts to class everyday.  Or the person who has never really been athletic but joins her class soccer team…..or volleyball…..or takes a Zumba or water aerobics class.  The person who didn’t study in high school can become the studious one whom everyone turns to for help in preparing for the mid-term.  The young woman who hasn’t been on stage since her fourth grade class play can try out for the first play of the season and find her niche in Porter Auditorium.  Though she may never have been very outgoing before, she might decide to run for class vice-president and win the election.  She can begin college thinking she’s going to be a teacher but instead graduate with a Psychology degree and dreams of graduate school.  So many doors are opening for these young women, they only have to decide which ones to walk through.

And that’s what I try to remind myself.  When I tell my girl about the adventures I had there, I want to remember she will create her own adventures.  She may want to be on STUNT Committee or become a Peer Counselor and RA, but she MIGHT NOT.  She may never set foot on the stage of Porter or put a toe in the pool.  And that is okay.  Did you hear that, Aub?  It’s okay.  I share these stories just to share them.  No pressure, no expectations.  Except two.

Be who you are.  And (quoting Mama) be your very best self.

Unless of course–

Yeah.  Pretty much the best advice.  Ever.

Yeah. Pretty much the best advice. Ever.