First Day

I went to Boston University.

If it sounds like I'm bragging, I probably am.  You spend your junior and senior years of high school taking AP classes and summer college courses so you can get in to BU, and then graduate from BU cum laude in 4 years and tell me if you feel like bragging.  These days, I pass time telling a little girl to "push out the pee into the potty" so I like to wax poetic about the good ole' days.  Forgive.


Growing up, my parents were very strict with me.  I was not permitted to do a lot of things that many kids took for granted.  I couldn't go to the mall alone with my friends.  Wasn't allowed to go to the diner after work with co-workers.  I think that they would have referred to their parenting technique as more "over-protective" than strict, but call it what you will, I was sheltered.

When it came time to apply to college, I knew that this was my chance to get out.  Get some freedom and do it under the guise of higher learning.  So, I applied to colleges that were out of state.  Still on the east coast, but far enough so that my parents couldn't just drop in.

The minute I saw the brochure for Boston University, I knew I would go there.  I didn't even care about any other schools that I applied to, because I was going to BU.  And, once I was accepted, I thought of nothing much more than the blessed day that I could finally move in.

People talk about dorms and how small and ugly and institutional they tend to be, but I did not give a flying fig about that.  To me, a dorm represented my chance to live on my own and make my own decisions, all with the added bonus of a buffet-style meal plan.  It sounded too good to be true.  (Ed. note: it was.  For the record, one should not be offered a buffet at every meal. I wish my high school had offered AP Self Restraint.)

So, you can imagine my surprise when, after I said goodbye to my parents and watched them walk down the hall to the elevator, I began to cry.  And not tears of joy...well, maybe a little.   These were tears for an event that was so anticipated, wanted, and planned, and then was finally happening.  And I was emotional. 

I cried those same tears when Dr. Sullivan told me to begin pushing when I was in labor.

It's hard to explain those tears.  They are not for joy, but they are.  They are not for sadness, but they are.  They are for a new experience, an anticipated event, a scary and exciting adventure.

And for suddenly understanding what the two people who had given me the opportunity to go to the college of my dreams were feeling at that exact moment.  For realizing how difficult it must have been to let go of something that you had spent the last 17 years holding so close.

I will feel that feeling again in 16 years, when Greg and I drop Leah off at BU.

And, this, by the way, is not up for discussion.  That's where she's going.

1 comment:

GREG said...

leah told me today she wants to go to MIT