Before I begin, I apologize for being gone for a bit. I had a career change, have a set schedule, and this new career affords me the opportunity to write more and focus on myself as a blogger and eventually a full-time author. Thank you for following me. On we go…
Yesterday I sat outside on my balcony, watching and listening to everything going on around me. I then sank deep into my own thoughts. I began reflecting (like I do often) on my life. Before I go further, let me delve into the circumstances that lead up to my reflecting…
Several months ago, my daughter called me because she wanted to talk.
“Daddy, I don’t like high school. I don’t hate it, but I want to be done with it already.”
“You’re not telling me you’re dropping out, are ya? Otherwise, there’s gonna be a dead daughter somewhere,” I replied sternly.
“No, of course not,” she laughed, with a bit of a tremble in her voice. Not really, she knows I kid with her. “I just want to take extra classes and graduate next year (2018) instead of waiting till 2019.”
Most parents would be floored, in a good sense. I was. I was happy and impressed.
“Honey, you do whatever makes you happy. If that’s what will make you happy, then you do it.”
“You’re not mad?”
“God no! Whatever on Earth would I have to be mad at.”
Now granted at the time, I was gung-ho for her. Then I sat back and realized several things:
- She could take extra classes then dual enroll her senior year and graduate like normal. That way some of her college is covered.
- She will only be in high school once in her life, why rush through it?
- I don’t want her to look back one day and regret not having completed it the way she has the opportunity to now. She can go to college whenever. But high school…
She proceeded to take extra classes over the summer. During her first couple months of school, we revisited the topic. I expressed my feelings as mentioned above. I told her I jumped the gun and felt that she didn’t need to rush to graduate and explained the aforementioned. I then told her to go see her counselor and discuss it.
This was the conversation the following week:
“I spoke to my counselor today.”
“He told me that high school isn’t for everyone, that what I was doing was noble and awesome that I was taking initiative while still maintaining a high GPA and that he supported my decision. He then began showing me what I needed to do to prepare for graduation as I’m now listed as a senior because of the classes I’m taking.”
I kid, sort of. If this was the advice of her counselor, then I couldn’t do anything but support her. He was right. She is taking extra classes. She has mostly A’s and a few B’s. She updates me and her mother on her test grades and quiz grades regularly. How can I fault her or slow her down if she wants to overachieve? I can’t! I can only support her in her endeavors.
“Well, I support you then. But make sure you keep those grades up and keep up the hard work. And make sure if this is your decision, you stick by and support your decision.”
I don’t really have to tell her to do that. She’s a work horse and does not need any instruction or direction on getting her work done. She does it all on her own. So impressed with her.
But that’s where it began. The reality set in that I’m losing a year with my daughter. This was going to be her last year of high school.
BACK ON THE PATIO –
I begin reflecting on my time with my daughter, which brought tears to my eyes (man, I got soft(er) over the years). Then after going through the memories, the laughter, the holidays, our many trips to Georgia and what not, I was hit with a new reality…my life is about to start over again!
I don’t mean that I didn’t have a life with my daughter in it. I don’t mean that I wasn’t able to do things because I had her. It just meant that I am going to have to readjust my own schedule. I’m going to have to get involved in events. I’m going to have to tackle goals of my own.
Soon, there won’t be the few days a week that she comes to stay with me. It’ll be every few weeks, during holidays, and over the summer if she decides to come home or stay in summer school. That means that those days that I looked forward to her coming to be with me will be much more distant. That’s the sad reality.
The other reality is that I have to do things for me now. I will have all this extra time and will need to prepare myself. Obviously, I’m a single father so one goal will be to date again, even though the thought makes me cringe because of my past experiences. I can also contemplate where I plan to relocate because I don’t want to live here in South Florida anymore. I want to get more involved in other things, too.
In other words, I have to create/set goals for myself. I want to take trips to see old friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I want to travel. I want meet someone and fall in love. After researching, I’m starting a new gym in a couple weeks because I have physical goals. I want to work on becoming a motivational speaker (that way I can tour the country so that covers travel AND I will get paid). I want to finish my novel.
I got up quickly off the patio the other night and sat down and created this wonderful goals list. I set up a short term and long term list. The short-term list is in the next six months to year. The long-term list was what I want to accomplish in the next 3-7 years. After about two hours of thinking, crossing out, scribbling, writing, thinking some more, scribbling some more…I created what I feel is a wonderful list. Not only did I create this list, I created it with confidence. I took a deep breath and let out an exhale like I owned it – or I will at some point. It felt good. It felt real. I could envision all the wonderful things that I wrote down. I could see it all.
An empty nest is a sad thing to realize…unless you have several children, then it could be quite pleasurable. Ha!
She is my one and only. So this moment has both elements of happiness and sadness. As a friend said to me the other day, “You and Lisa have done an exceptional job. You’ve raised a brilliant young lady, beautiful, well-mannered. You did what you needed to do as parents and succeeded quite well. Now you need to go be happy…for you, too.”
I am. I’m a very happy and very proud dad. As I tackle these goals, I will be making trips to visit her, of course. These goals don’t rule out the fact that I’m still a father. That’s my entire life’s greatest work. Nothing will ever compete with it.
But while she’s living her life and becoming a young woman, learning, growing, and me sitting by waiting for a call to give her advice or an ear for her to vent to, I realized one very important lesson – he’s right! I need to get ready to go out and do what my daughter will soon be doing herself.