I’m sitting here looking out of my window that overlooks my garden in my backyard. The trees are slowly moving from side to side with the gentle breeze that flows through the branches. The sky is lined with puffy white clouds, slowly moving across the vast blueness and I am thinking back to the night that my life changed.
We had been already prepped for the news that might come where the excitement was barely contained as we waited for the magic hour. We knew the magic bewitching hour, it would be that moment in time, we’d be welcoming a new member into our family. As we hoped for expectations of being able to cope, manage, survive and cherish was at that very moment; just a bundle of butterflies in our stomachs.
We just had to wait for the clock to slowly tick by and in which, midnight seemed to take forever.
Just as we had given up with the butterflies, nerves, worry of the unknown and before exhaustion made us fall asleep; we heard a frantic cry sound through out our house. Before we could get out of bed to discover the news, our bedroom door was thrown back and our beautiful oldest daughter, Scarlett was jumping up and down. Shouting, crying and yelling at the top of her lungs, “Mummy, Daddy…. I got accepted!”
We had just become parents to a University Student.
Scarlett was our first child to be accepted into University and like a lot of other parents, we had/have no idea what that would and will entail. For Red and I had never attended University but learnt our many life skills within our work structures. Our work structures that entailed sheer hard work doing manual and clerical work through the years were our forms of education. So for us to have our daughter be accepted was an honour but also, we had no doubt in her.
The 20 something years of raising her seemed to flash before my eyes as she went from a tender newborn, to a little person off to primary school for the first time. The high school student who had to deal with puberty and hormones to the beautiful young woman, shedding tears of joy and had a look of utter disbelief. Disbelief that someone outside of her family could see her potential and had taken a chance on her.
Within days she had gotten her confirmation letter and was setting up her life, not that she would know as she set up her schedule for subjects to be explored. We as her parents merely watched our daughter take the first steps to making her destiny and future be created.
At that moment, I realized I could take a breath of relief.
For my job as such had began coming to a close where I could merely sit back while I watch, admire, delight and have the occasional cry of joy. As Scarlett stepped out from under my apron, the safety of our home and went about standing on her own to legs.
I will not lie and say it has been a breeze in the 3+ years since that fateful moment. Both Scarlett and I have experienced moments of sheer anger and rage at each other. One of those moments in life was the day she announced she had left what I though to be a perfectly good University that she was excelling at with a breeze up her skirt.
All because she wanted to “challenge” herself in a different city. Least to say, Scarlett and I had a Palestinian/Israeli Stalemate for many months and still to this day, it’s still touch and go to which is not an understatement. As a result, I’ve done more than my fair share of groaning, moaning and whinging about her current university and the inept lecturers. Let alone being at the end of the phone listening to it from my adult child.
I have cried myself to sleep with worry, repressed anger and sadness. Felt a tremendous loss that I am not smarter than I am in order to help her ‘skip’ through her essays and exams. Watched enough E.R and Grey’s Anatomy to know what a cardiovascular dissection is or how a central line works. Just so I can understand the medical lingo when it spouts out of my daughter’s mouth.
I still get excited when she tells me about what ward she has placement in and wonder how she is faring each day. I also spend a few moments as I let the information sink in wondering if she has met her future Mr Darcy Of The Brown Shoes; who just might happen to be Dr. McHottie. Like her, I am gleefully counting down the remaining days, weeks, months to the end of the tunnel.
The end of the tunnel where she steps out onto stage in her Louboutins, that she saved up for. Where she stands there for a couple of second soaking in everything before walking across the stages; only to The Chancellor with her gorgeous smile as she receives her Degree of Nursing. I already know I’ll be that mother who isn’t contently sitting meekly or smiling for I’ll be that mother yelling, “Scarlett, thank f*ck it’s over”. Before turning to a complete stranger to tell them, “isn’t she brilliant? That’s my daughter on stage”.
I can hardly wait.
In these past years,I’ve watched Scarlett grow in her development as a adult and tackled her University work. Although it has been an uphill challenge and battle having being diagnosed with Dyslexia as a long life partner, some of my anger has been directed at her. The reason behind my anger towards Scarlett is because she has stubbornly refused to talk her learning disability and thus, hasn’t asked for help. This has caused more than a few tense moments in our lives as Mother and daughter.
As a parent but her mother, I have been very worried whether or not she is constantly mentally banging her head on a brick wall when she has been unable to understand. Understand what it was her lecturers or tutors have actually wanted from her as a person and student. There have been nights where I’ve spent them worrying over her health, mental status and whether I needed to take food, cuddles and my motherly love down to her in Brisbane. Or if I simply needed to sit beside her, telling her nonstop “Scarlett, we have faith in you!”
We, as her parents have had many moments when we have despaired, questioned her motives. Or you can hear us shouting down the phone or yelling at her during our Skype sessions, “Scarlett, you can do this!“.
For those who are starting their life dream of being a college student or you are the parent/s of a college student, our motto should be: You just have to have faith!
Being Scarlett’s parents, we’ve had the opportunity to discover a host of different things that have become sprinkled throughout our lives.My advice for parents and for college students are:
- Determination – not to scream, rant and rave
- Perseverance – you got through the first year of University. Only a few more to go
- Love – A constant stream of’I LOVE YOU’s’ is important every time you see, speak, embrace them. Even if it is sent via Skype, a letter/note/card.
- Willpower – not to ring up her lecturer and say ALOT of swear words
- Repetitive words – Do not give up! You will pass! Not long to go! Eat something! Try and sleep! Did you eat today? You will finish that 2500 word essay! Have you slept or eaten this week? Do you want me to come?
- Faith – Show him/her that your belief is unwavering, undeniable and only grows in strength with each passing day.
- Failure – to fail an exam or an essay is OK. Everyone has taken backward steps to reach the goal of their destiny. Learn from the mistake and forge forward, not with abandon but with knowledge. Strength of steel in your resolve and remember it’s okay to cry will become a motto.
- Knowledge – Be a squirrel and keep gathering as much information, knowledge and education whatever age you are!
For Scarlett, her four years of study and wondering if the end will ever come has resolved to who she has become as a person. One of the main features that stands out after four years of hard word is the pride she has not only for herself but also those around her. In return, she has discovered a lot about who she is within that time.
This has seen her transition from being that scared little wallflower to where she is now standing here as a young woman. A young, incredibly talented and smart woman, who holds her head up with pride, belief, faith, wisdom, intelligence, fortitude, determination and most importantly, she knows she is loved.
If I can say one thing about being a parent to a child or children of any age, it is this simple motto I live by and tell our children often: “BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE!”
You will get through this educational period of your life, sometimes with a backward glance at all you have achieved. Sometimes with a forward glance to where you have to head and sometimes you have to stand still, assess what it is you are doing. Before taking one step at a time. That my dear is all you can do as you take one step at a time.
My final words of wisdom from a parent to a student and to another parent are:
- Have faith in yourself.
- Believe you can forge ahead.
- Take time out to rest and recover.
- Seek family or friends for nourishment and love.
- STOP comparing yourself to others…you are an individual.
- This is YOUR Time and don’t waste it on regret.
Good luck and continue with your journey. For you are the best that you can simply be.