Growing up Baby!
From sweet little infant, to employed student in Vancouver - you've come a long way baby! (OK, yes SHE has come along way, but what about me? I was there for the whole journey too!)
I graduated from high school in 1984, almost 30 years ago! At that time I was somewhat like my daughter is now, wondering what to do with my life, was I good enough, did I have the strength or courage? Unlike her I didn't really have any great interest in anything and I was not accepted to the church college I thought I wanted to attend in the USA - so I went to the local college in a neighbouring city.
All of my friends were entering college or university in September 1984 and I had no clue what I wanted to do but I knew one thing, I was MOVING out! So late August of that year, I decided to enroll in basic university prep courses that would apply to something, somewhere down the road. Student loans aren't like they are now but I did apply. My parents were having a rough time financially so they were unable to help me much. (I get that now, since I am not paying my daughters way at all.)
I had to be VERY economical and while my friends were getting apartments, in secure buildings, in "safer" areas of town, with monthly allowances... I found a little bachelor suite in the basement of a house renting from an older couple. They were nice people and my place was VERY tiny for $220 a month it was what I could afford. Of course there wasn't much left over for groceries, since my parents helped me as much as they could and gave me $1200 for 4 months rent, food, laundry, etc. Money was tight and I ate a lot Ramen Chinese noodles with cheap hot dogs and learned to use peanut butter in a multitude of ways! I was excited though! I was on my own (very lonely!) and was enrolled in college.
Speeding ahead in the story, this is a blog, not a book! I was not ready for school. I was broke but managed to find money to buy drinks, skip class, go to parties and basically squander this opportunity completely! I had NO idea what a mistake I was making! By the end of December I had failed my classes, been evicted from my little suite and felt pretty crappy about myself. Three days before Christmas, I made some hasty decisions and packed up what little I had, left some boxes at a relatives with things I couldn't take with me and hopped on a bus to Banff, Alberta to clean hotel rooms for minimum wage. It took me about 2 years to focus and get back to school then by May of 1988 I was living full time in the big city of Vancouver. Living there and loving it!
Now my daughter has followed my journey, somewhat in reverse... She moved across the country, drove in her little car 5600 KM, worked in a hotel cleaning rooms - lasted longer than I did! Then decided that yes school was sounding good! She is in now in Vancouver, working and about to move into her first apartment! I can't do much to help her from here, but it is reassuring to know that some of the things that her dad and I collected and loved will now be in her new home and that she can reclaim some of his art work for her walls.
Her new home is much nicer than mine was and she shouldn't be as lonely since she will have room mates and someone to go to school with since her friend is enrolled in the same course at the same time. We never know what life will throw us, or how we will deal with it. We never realize what we have until its gone, but I am happy to see that she has found a path, following it and even though its not easy, she is out there living her life.
It is now almost 30 years later and the world has changed. I had no phone, internet or cable - Yes! Cable and phones DID exist! I hope that she will be eating more than cheap Chinese noodles and I am grateful that I have some amazing friends that have helped her, supported her, put her up while she settled in and now others who are finding items for her new home. I am grateful for the tough times and learning experiences that I had and YES I loved living in Vancouver!
Now I am settled in little old Fosterville, NB on Golden Unicorn Farm and I am grateful that my daughter has access to Facebook and phone so we can stay in frequent contact. I am grateful that unlike me, who spent half my pay cheque calling home, crying to my mom, she, can call and cry to me for almost no money! I wish I could be there, help her settle in, experience some of what she is going through, but I can't.
Next Sunday, my baby turns 19 years old and will be her first birthday that we are apart. Wow! I am getting old! I wouldn't change it though. A life lived, lessons learned and I am now blessed with beautiful children, a loving husband and great friends. I pray that the example I have set will resonate with her. That she will not make the poor choices I did, that she will honour the positive ones and that she will live, love and laugh...
Yes, the torch has been passed on...
Go rock Vancouver little girl!
(Unlike your mother, don't stay drunk,
skip classes and love your awesome new home!