I registered for Parent & Family Weekend even before my daughter left for her freshman year at college. Yes, I'm that parent, although I'll claim it's because I'm so organized. Yes, I started missing her even before she left (if that's possible). And yet it seemed like only yesterday, not a month ago, that we said good-bye and I became an empty nester.
Of course, being the straight-A student (some things you never outgrow), I studied the weekend's schedule of events and not just knew when, but where, each was taking place. And I couldn't help but notice there were several blocks of "downtime". Obviously, the school already knew what I was about to find out. Sometimes it's what's not on the schedule that really matters.
It was walking together to Kroger to get her "essentials" (Campbell's soup, Banquet chicken pot pies, and Cotton Candy grapes, although, much to my surprise, no ramen) and telling me about her idea to apply for an internship because classes are great, but she also wants real-life experience. It was not being able to decide where she wanted to go for dinner and instead ending up in her dorm room, her on her bed and me on the throw pillows on the floor, eating not Domino's pizza (although it was considered) but delivery from Noodles & Company and watching Survivor.
A few hours later, it was her walking me across the incredibly beautiful campus of Belmont University filled with majestic buildings, to the "circle" where everyone picks up their Uber, telling me that she's going to meet up with friends. Which made sense as I've heard so much about the people she's met and the many friends she's made, even meeting some of them. And it was the weekend after all.
But then she said something that totally caught me by surprise. Later she was going to study for several hours as that's her nightly routine (often starting after midnight). And, unlike me, who primarily focused on getting good grades, she explained that she loves her classes and truly wants to learn the material. Not for the test. Not for the grade. But to have the knowledge for when she graduates.
And on the Uber ride back to the hotel, I realized,
Parents Weekend is all about reassurance. Reassurance that she's happy and confident, and becoming the person that every parent hopes and dreams their child will become. It was my daughter, through her unprompted words and actions, during the "downtime" of Parent & Family Weekend, that brought me smiles and laughter. And without even knowing it, she reassured me that she was in the right place – literally and figuratively.
|I love history and understand that “Lincoln freed the slaves,” but the Civil War was about more than slavery. It was about preserving the Union, and about states’ rights (some things never change) and westward expansion. However, once President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the war between the states would be forever remembered as a war to end slavery. Although I’ll admit that I’d never of Juneteenth until I moved to Texas. And I was surprised to learn it took two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves in Texas to be set free, but that explains why Juneteenth’s celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States. And why it was declared a federal holiday in 2021.|
|Change is never as simple as issuing proclamations. Especially since slavery represented systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity. Real change requires words and actions, and a change in mindset. Celebrating the end of slavery is noble, but it should also serve as a reminder of where we are and how far we still have to go. Ending racism is not as simple as saying it is wrong but recognizing that it still exists is an important start.|
|Every Father’s Day , when I think of Daddy, I think about alligators and turtles. I know that might sound crazy, especially as there are so many wonderful memories, but those stand out. As does the fact that every day, he taught me about unconditional love and was always there for me. And even though he passed away over 20 years ago, the memories are as strong, both emotionally and “visually”, as if it was just yesterday. And for that, I’m so grateful.|
|I know you are probably expecting me to talk about how Father’s Day is, in many ways, a form of “equal rights" since Mother’s Day was already in existence , or maybe the business aspects of it being a “ retail holiday ”. Instead, at the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I will just say that dads always have a very special place in the hearts of their “little girls” … no matter how old those “girls” become.|
Wishing all dads a very Happy Father’s Day!
|This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.|
|Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.|
|I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.|
|If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.|
|I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.|
|Not really. In the case of the American flag, they needed something to communicate a new nation fighting for its freedom . But remember when I gave Natasha a set of racing flags years ago?|
|How could I forget? It was a very difficult and challenging time. And although you had already made me realize that different people like to communicate differently , the problem with Natasha wasn't so much how to communicate with her as figuring out when. We were frustrated and walking around on eggshells because we never knew when she was in a good mood or a bad mood, when it was safe to talk to her, and when she needed to be left alone.|
|Sometimes flags are the perfect way to communicate a message when words are not an option.|
|Leave it to you to use racing flags to solve what seemed like an impossible situation in a way that was not only clever but appealed to her because of her love of cars and racing. And we know where she got that from!|
|It just seemed logical. As did the cheat sheet where I basically "translated" the racing meanings of the different color flags for your use. For example, in racing, a green flag can either be the start of a race, a re-start, or just displayed to communicate safe racing. With Natasha, it would mean it was "safe" to talk to her. In racing, a yellow flag means caution and to slow down, which needs no further explanation.|
|I remember her telling me, quite emphatically, that a black flag means "Go away." Which made me laugh because it just seemed so, well, appropriate, given that's something I could see you saying.|
|On the track, it means to go to the pits, usually because you are in trouble. So, I cannot argue with your comment about it being appropriate for me. But, keep in mind that a red flag means to "Stop!"|