Posts Tagged With: College


Kicking the Bucket List

Friday Letter to My Kids – May 2018.

Dear J, J, L and L,

Surprise! I don’t have an actual bucket list.

two green pails on ground

Photo by hitesh choudhary on

Hopes and dreams, definitely. Mostly the sort left unspoken. Something about saying a wish out loud takes away its power, I suppose. Call me superstitious, or weird.

There has been this one very strong desire. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much I personally could do to make that happen. That’s an ongoing theme in my life. But in this case the wish, the dream, the desire, was truly out of my control. All I could do was watch, for the most part.

Of Seeds and Seedlings

I planted a few seeds here and there and waited to see what would happen. I did what was in my power to help those seeds grow, watering, weeding, a bit of fertilizer.

From when you were little, I let you know that I thought going to college and getting a degree was really, really, really important. As you got older, and as life unfolded the raggedy, unpredictable way life does, the importance of a college education became even clearer and stronger in my mind. Without nagging, I hope, I reminded you from time to time how critical that was.

Implicit in that was that you’d get decent grades in high school and graduate. I celebrated those high school graduations with pride and tears.

Just a A Few Years Later… In the Eternal Scheme of Things

And now, nineteen years after the first of you graduated from high school, all four of you have Bachelor’s Degrees.

That one sentence doesn’t say enough. It makes it sound magical and simple, which I know it wasn’t. Those degrees you’ve earned have arrived after tears, and heartache, sweat, late nights, all-nighters, dozens of different occupations, roommates, spouses, children, worry, debt, stops, starts, u-turns, illnesses, battles, winding roads, weddings, a divorce, unexpected detours, and plenty of life’s storms. Each one of you pushed through whatever obstacles came your way and you kept trying, kept working, kept keeping on.

I’ll bet you never knew you were making one of my dreams come true.

FullSizeRender-17The degree isn’t simply for me to brag about, or for you to have some piece of paper to hang on the wall. The college degree has always been about the doors it can open for you, the opportunities it can make available and the freedom it can potentially provide. It can save you from a lifetime of back-breaking physical work. It can give you peace of mind and a fallback position. That’s what I really wanted for you. Now that you have those degrees, your own dreams are more within reach.

This is the Part Where Words Fall Short

I’m so happy for each of you, and so incredibly proud of you.

Now my only dream for you is that you find happiness and joy in whatever lies ahead. I’m pretty sure you’ll do just fine.

All my love,


photo-23 copy 5

Bluebird of Happymess


“Life is a one time offer, use it well.”



Categories: Celebration, Happiness, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“It Has Its Ups and Downs”

Elevator Operator.

How many people do you know can list that on their résumé?

I can.

Yeah, I know, totally cool.

Or Not. Depends on your perspective.

I was in college. The summer between freshman and sophomore year I decided to stick around campus, get a couple of part-time jobs, take a summer-sized load of classes (very few, but daily) and hit as many parties and social events as I could.

The copy/print shop job I really wanted went to someone else. I ended up applying for anything and everything that was left.

Summer Jobs

I got hired for two positions on campus. Not sure the first job had a real title. Basically I either rubber-stamped the glow-in-the-dark ink on the hands of students going into dances, or I held the fluorescent light that showed they’d already been stamped. Dances were always on the weekend. It kind of cut into my plans to go dancing myself, or going out much at all.

English: LED elevator floor indicator

The other job I landed was elevator operator. There weren’t that many floors in any of the buildings on campus, but summertime brought out the bored students, the local teens and the let’s-make-out-in-weird-public-places couples. So they wanted someone maintaining control of the elevator. I usually only worked when there was “an event” in one of the restaurants in the student union center, or if there was a dance. Again, weekend hours mostly.

Fortunately, the elevator stayed busy. Surprise registered on most people’s faces as they stepped on board and saw an elevator operator.

It was a sort of dream come true for me.

Back in the Day

I remembered as a kid, only a decade or so earlier than this summer job, riding the elevator in JC Penney. The elevator operator sat on a small metal stool next to the buttons. He’d open the door with a button, and then manually push open the crisscross cage doors, and then we’d step in the elevator, my over-active imagination peering into the miniscule gap between floor and elevator, fearing for my life.  When we were all loaded into the small metal box, the operator would lean out a bit through the open door and holler, “going up?” in a sort of question/statement.

English: This is the controls on a dover elevator

Seeing no one, he’d pull the gate closed, and then push the button that closed the solid metal doors. Then he’d ask, “Which floor please?” To which each person would reply with a number and a “please.” Going down offered the basement level as well.  I’d wait for that swooshy stomach feeling as the elevator pulled up to the next floor or dropped down a level. I loved/hated that feeling for its mixed sense of excitement and dread.

I always wanted to push those buttons, make them light up, be the one in charge of the numbers over the door as they changed. I thought it’d be a great job to have. It came in a close second to candy counter salesgirl.

Dream Come True, Sort of

I wasn’t lucky enough in my new job on campus to have a stool to sit on, or a gate to pull shut. Everything was automatic. I did get to ask which floor, and push the buttons. By time I was in college no one said “please” or “thank you” when they requested their floor, or when they exited the elevator. I earned some spending money, met tons of people, learned to make small talk in a brief amount of time, and became comfortable being around strangers. It was a good experience.

Very Punny

There was one perk to that job that I really liked.  When my roommate or a friend would ask how work had been, I could reply, “Oh, you know, it has its ups and downs.”

I could never resist a pun, good or bad.

What’s the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Categories: Memory Lane, The World | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A College Graduation Speech, Sort of, But Not


(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

My oldest daughter will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology on Saturday!!

I am one proud mama!

During the ceremony, speeches will echo out across a sea of caps and gowns. Most of what’s said will skip about the room with a low absorption rate. Most members of the audience will focus on one person in the room, their graduate.

It’s a shame there isn’t a way to personalize such a momentous occasion. To hear from each graduate about the circuitous path they followed to arrive at graduation would take weeks, or months, but oh the stories! To get a taste of the audience members perspective of that path would add a dimension never dreamed of before.

To share some small fraction of lessons learned in and out of the classroom while on that path would fill libraries.

I intended to dispense advice in my own little version of a graduation speech for my daughter. After all, I gave a graduation speech at my high school graduation eons ago.

But then, I thought of my daughter and her path to this point in her journey. She’s taught me more than I ever taught her. I’m certain of it.

She arrived in this world already confident and brave and friendly.

Now she is also: A world traveler. Caring. Smart. Beautiful. Open-minded, open-hearted. Anticipatory. Relaxed. Brave, adventurous, fun. Prepared. Strong. Kind. Willful. Opinionated. Easy going.  Friendly.  Wise.

What’s next? Graduate school? Maybe. A career? Maybe. She’s taking the summer to mull it over and relax. It’s been a long winding road.

My Advice? 

  • Be yourself.
  • Trust your feelings.
  • Remember you are loved.
  • Keep your eyes open.
  • Enjoy.
  • Love.
  • Give.

That’s about it. No speech from me.

She has what she needs, she’ll get where she’s going with style and grace and a smile on her face.

Oh, one last thing:

  • Keep in touch with your mom.

That’s all.

I love you my sweet girl!


Hooray for you!! (Photo credit: ADoseofShipBoy)

Categories: Family, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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