Thorough is such a weird word. It means complete with regard for every detail. Paying attention to details and accuracy. My old career of a Computer Systems Analyst required being thorough. The details were where you would find success or failure. You had to do a lot of analysis before digging in to a project.
Our 50th Class Reunion should have been last year. We are celebrating this year as 50 + 1. Isn’t that great? It’s in August, we need to pay soon and reserve our spots. This morning, as I waited outside of Papillion LaVista South High School, I watched the kids and parents coming and going. It was fun to imagine all sorts of stories for the people before me. Some were learning to drive, and Mom or Dad would get out of the car from the passenger seat, and drive away after sitting in the drivers seat.
It took me back to my kids learning to drive. Those were the days! My rule had to be, they can drive when they can get a car, put gas in it, and pay their own insurance. Sometimes we would barter work for the insurance premium, but they had to understand how it worked. I absolutely could not afford to have car payments more than my own.
As I looked up at the entrance below the name of this school Addison will attend next year, I thought back to my first days in high school. I was a mess. I was a very shy kid, and nervous. I wanted so much to be accepted. I hoped the bullying would stop. I hoped and prayed (what’s a Catholic kid to do?) no one would pick on me. Boys did not seem to find me attractive, and I was always drawn to kids who I thought were “above” me. Out of my league. Often a “bad boy.” The ones that did what they wanted, not what they should do. I was a rule follower. It’s engrained in you if you’re a kid born in the 50s, raised in the 60s, and graduated in 1970.
I was nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. I didn’t like loud noises, loud voices, and calling attention to myself. I used to joke I wasn’t a wallflower, I was the wall. Sad, looking back. Because of a poor body image, I thought I was morbidly obese. Although I don’t think that term existed back then. Trouble was, women were depicted as thin, Twiggy was the “it” girl, and blondes had more fun. Madison Avenue did a number on all of us.
Of course, I never heard anyone talk about feeling inadequate. Did we do that back then? In my experience, the less someone else knew about my feelings, the less ammunition they had to use against me later on. Lack of trust hurt everyone. It hurt me the most. I believe many other kids, especially girls, felt as I did. We weren’t raised by parents who told us, “Good job!” It was expected. You’d hear if you failed to do a good job, but compliments weren’t given freely. I married right out of high school. It appeared as my only option at the time. I made a bad decision there, but I wouldn’t have my kids without having made it. The marriage didn’t last, but that’s ok.
The question is often posed, if you could go through it again would you? If I could keep the confidence in myself that’s been fought very hard to achieve, yes. It’s been a 50 + 1 year journey to get here. Ups, downs, pitfalls, successes and failures. I am not a quitter. Sometimes I think that comes from having to struggle in life. I never felt smart enough. I never made the Honor Roll. But when I finished college in 1995, I had a perfect 4.0 average at Bellevue University. I did not graduate with honors because my previous hours were not from that institution. I think that kind of stinks, I had a 4.0 average there, too. It doesn’t matter. I know what my average was.
All in all, as I looked at my intelligent, kind, beautiful, talented granddaughter Addison walk away from the car this morning, I felt happy. I’m happy for her, she has confidence. Her parents have instilled good in her heart, love in her soul, and confidence to try everything to see what she likes. And it shows. She made the school dance team as an incoming Freshman. She is that good. Today was an optional weight training class that will strengthen not only her body, but her mind. Good stuff. I cannot wait to see what she does these next four years.
As I’m off to plant more flowers in a couple hanging baskets, know I wish you a beautiful day. I am so grateful for the life I’ve had, even the bumpy roads. Cancer, Divorce, disappointment, bad decisions, fear, and loneliness aside, they all helped chisel the woman I am today. I claim victory, and I’m proud. Of me. And grateful. God has been so good to me. I pray for many more years, doing some good in this world.
Join me! Be kind. I’ll see you tomorrow!