It's March! That means that I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!
As many of you can relate to, I've spent the day in search of my post. One of the hard things about the last few day of the Challenge for me is that the posts seem to have higher stakes. Many of you might relate to that, as well.
And then, I clicked on a link to see if there were any new posts (hold on, I'll explain), and there it was. I knew my slice for the day.
I have four daughters, and the youngest, Cecily, graduated from high school last spring. At that time, she was debating what to do in the fall. She'd known her college choice since December, so she wasn't waiting to see where she was going. At that point, she was trying to decide if she was going. I did my best to stay away from her decision-making process, but her sisters had no problem weighing in.
"You only get four years of college," our older daughters counseled her whenever she asked them. "You might as well set yourself up to have four great ones."
The college experiences of two of the girls were impacted significantly by the pandemic. One lost a season of her college career and her senior spring. The other had to leave South America and the semester abroad that she'd looked forward to since she knew that semesters abroad were possibilities.
Larkin, our oldest daughter, had her full four years. "They were the best," she told Cecily. "You will not want to spend any of them shut in your dorm or doing virtual classes."
Cecily went back and forth, back and forth, and after the eleventh hour, she requested her deferral. For about a week, we wondered about what the college would say, and I have endless gratitude for Skidmore College for granting Cec's request, even when it came after the deadline.
From September to February, Cecily ran a pod out of our house, overseeing distance learning for between 4 and 6 seven through twelve year-olds. There were hard days. There were days when technology didn't work, when kids were bickering, when the work was confusing, when there wasn't enough work. There were days when no one could agree on a game or a place to work or a story to listen to. And these were just a few of the challenges. Cecily learned a lot about learning and kids. She also had many days when she wished she'd made a different decision. Her friends talked about their experiences at college, posting pictures of dorm rooms and outside classes. Social media is complicated and misrepresentative; friends were not posting pictures of their dinners left in the hallway to be eaten alone. The decision to defer is one that I think Cec will always wonder about.
On March 1, to my relief and somewhat to my amazement, Cecily left for a gap year program, run by Where There Be Dragons out of Boulder, CO. A good friend's daughter did the same trip in the fall and loved it, so we signed her up, hoping against hope that it would be an option in the spring of 2021. And, despite everything, it happened. She flew to Phoenix (by herself with a changeover and a mask the whole time!), stayed socially distance until everyone got their Arizona test results back, and has been living as a pod with a group of people she didn't know for almost a month now.
The participants take turns posting on the group's "yakboard", and today, when I clicked to see if there were any new yaks, CECILY'S POST WAS UP! Reading it made me proud, and happy-- so happy. Right now, at this moment, it seems like she's in the right place.