" I feel I am very sane about how crazy I am." -Carrie Fisher
"Own your Crazy." -Kim

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Perspective and I'm Over It

Today I went to our storage. It was drink inducing. If you have things in storage, you know what I am talking about. In my next career I am opening up bars at storage units. A lemonade like stand where you can walk over and order a drink at any moment in your storage experience. Find a box of used kitchen ware you never liked, and may not be clean, but you packed up and you aren't sure why? Go get a drink. Arguing with your husband about keeping a box of loan papers form a house you owned three houses and twenty years ago? Go get a drink. Trying to convince your mother to throw away a rusted metal bed frame that squeaks? Go get a drink. I know I could take a drink with me to storage, and this has been heavily contemplated, but it is a slippery slope. I don't want to end up passed out on the squeaky bed, as then Naomi would have strength in her argument for keeping the bed.

The victory of today's storage trip, well the victory beyond the fact that I am still married and no one is dead, is that I found my extra Lodi High graduation cap and gown. And that I found it before I ordered another one or two this year. Why do I have an extra cap and gown? The same reason yearbooks cost me twenty dollars more each year, the same reason I am at Walgreens hastily printing out a child's picture from my phone to go on the dance wall. The same reason I am paying a seamstress a lot of money as I am saying, "But we need it tomorrow, can you have it done by tomorrow?" In all of these instances there has been plenty of advance warning, but I just couldn't get it done in a timely manner. Three years ago this was the case with the graduation cap and gown for my oldest. Lots of advance warning that resulted in me frantically looking up the company online and ordering last minute. So frantically that two were delivered to us, and I found charges on two different credit cards. Always shooting for the glass is half full approach, I said to myself, "Not a big deal, you are now ahead of the game for Reagan in three years, in fact you should have just ordered four."

Only then we moved. And I put a large part of our lives in storage. So, in reality, I had no idea where the "extra" cap and gown were and as the notices started coming in this year, I thought I would be ordering another set. But, today, while attempting to get a small handle on storage, there it was in a box with a all the Santa hats I have bought over the years for school performances (to be added to the  three I bought this year as I am at storage in January, not December) and old camera batteries for cameras we no longer own or have.

Listen, I am not this way in all areas of my life. In fact I am a pretty organized mom and teacher. I have to be with a full time job and four kids. But, there are things that slip through the cracks. I can't hold it together in every area. I used to. I used to run myself ragged keeping up with it all and making sure all the i's were dotted and t's were crossed. Now, I have some time and age on it, some perspective, and I try not to let it bother me. I just have to do the best I can. I have to laugh at myself and embrace the inconsistency, because luckily, I'm over it.

Perspective is important. It is something I wrestle with fairly consistently. The yen and yang of having it for the right things at the right times. I often have it in my head, but what comes flying out of my mouth betrays me. Lately, the college perspective has been my battle. With the finding of the cap and gown, graduation is upon us. Graduation means college. Good God college. I can go on for hours on this topic, perhaps over drinks at my storage unit if anyone is interested. I have four girls. I think they will all go to college, and they will all have a completely different path in getting there. I am on girl number two.

This is what I have to say about perspective and college. Every kid is going to have their own path, and that path does not need to be the one that is harped upon and discussed ad nauseam in the suburban public school systems. There are colleges, great colleges, out there that do not require you to take a load of AP classes, have a 4.9 and then get wait listed, because maybe someone with a 4.95 will come along. Ridiculous. It took me awhile to get here. I have been on the fence for years with it all. At times tumbling over into the side of  "Push, push, push...do it! You must get all A's in 7th grade to have any kind of life!!!" and then realizing I am ridiculous and jumping over to the side of "Do your best. Do it well. You are smart and fabulous. We will figure it all out." I am attempting to stay firmly rooted on this side of the fence in a permanent manner because quite frankly, when it comes to the other side, I'm over it.

And it is really that last sentence that needs to guide my perspective. We will figure it out. Because you can be smart and fabulous, and not follow the agenda being slammed down your throat. At no time in my attendance at a Lodi High School graduations will I have a seal bearer sitting up front with special recognition. To do that, there is paperwork involved. Paper work with deadlines that need to be addressed in a timely manner. Ahhh...not our strong suit here at the Daniel house. What we learned from child number one is, that if you don't fill out the paperwork then you are not listed or sitting with the seal bearers in the program, however in the regular program you look very smart because the put tons of asterisks after your name to acknowledge your GPA. Each asterisk denotes a higher GPA. It should really denote, "this person is smart, but uninterested in listening to the morning announcements about filling out paperwork."

The AP class and test. Oh, the AP class and test. Advanced Placement. Take the class, pass the test and you get college credit. Wonderful and exciting and a great opportunity. However, you can be smart and fabulous at age 13, 14, 15, 16 and even 17 and not pass an AP test. Because, while passing an AP test is wonderful and has many benefits, it isn't necessary at these ages to get college credits. Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel that is what college is for, getting college credits. One of ours took an AP test, and passed. Fabulous. I was thrilled. She was devastated. Devastated because she did not pass with the highest number possible after all of her studying. Wait. What? No! I was firm, in this house, when you pass and get college credit at age 13 it is a victory, a  success, and we are celebrating, not crying.

I don't want to hear the word vomit that is, "Oh, but some colleges won't take the lower numbers." OK, whatever, but some do and the when you pass, you pass. Any passing at age 13 is a victory. It is a victory because YOU ARE NOT IN COLLEGE. Take the classes if you want, take the test, having the extra units is nice if you get them, but it isn't necessary as a means for determining your success in college. For our oldest it meant a nice comfortable first semester at college where she was able to relax, not load up on units and get used to college, because she had a little wiggle room. I no longer get involved in the decision making to take AP classes. I have been proven wrong every time I encouraged one to take, or not take, an AP class. Now the decision is theirs because... I'm over it.

I don't want to sound flippant when I say I am "over it."  I want to sound smart and fabulous. I am not "over it" because I don't care or want the best for my children. I am over it because I want them to be smart and fabulous on their own path. A path with some perspective. The perspective to know that college (and life) greatness does not have to come wrapped in a package of AP classes and 4.9 GPA's. It can, and if it does, that's fabulous. But college, the precursor for life, comes in lots of different packages and you can get there on many different paths.

Storming this week. No storage for me until our March break. I am chipping away at it, the life we once had, but have moved on from. In between the loan documents and dirty kitchen ware I find treasures. Years of basketball, dance and swim pictures, as well as academic achievement certificates from Elementary and Middle School. Reminders that I met some paperwork deadlines and was organized enough to provide four girls with the experiences that will give them perspective and success...no matter what path they take to get there.

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