Tag Archives: college

You Before Me

16 May

I know, I know, you think I got that wrong and it’s Me Before You, but, I am not wrong.

Let me explain: a few days ago Patrick, my son and I  were walking the dog and were talking about what should I do now that he is done with college. I told him I feel like all that rush, all that forward moving we went through for the past 12 years of public education came to a halt. Ever since I gave birth to him I’ve been focusing on him, making him my # 1 priority. His education, his wellbeing, his manners, his foundation, all of that has been my work, my goal nothing and no one could ever stop me from reaching it. I had a path and each step brought me closer and closer to the finish line, which we crossed together the minute he held his diploma.

I kept telling him that now he is done with school and I am done worrying (or so I keep telling myself). He is on his path and I am on mine. He will soon start working and will continue chasing his dreams while I need to figure out what to do with my life, my focus, my time. What to fill it with, which direction should I go, what to do. (You can call it a crisis, but I won’t, because I don’t want to jinx it and make it sound even more dramatic than it is. But it is dramatic and anyone who went through what I am going now, will tell you it is a life-altering time in any parent’s life whose child/ren finish their education).

I kept talking while he kept listening. (That’s one of the things I love the most when I spent time with Patrick; he is a great listener). Eventually we turned a corner and I finally stopped talking, waiting for him to say something. And he did, saying, “It’s actually quite simple, Mom. You need to go back to you before me. You before you had me. Find that 24 yr. old woman and see what she’d like to do. Focus on her, help her find her dreams.”

I know his words will remain engraved in my mind for a long time, maybe forever (with my brain’s will) and, while I do not want to be 24 yr. old again, I’d like to rekindle with my old self and see what treasures I’ve buried…you before me: where are you?

 

 

Open Letter To My Son–Part 3

27 Apr

Dear Pat,

This is part three to my open letter and last one. The first letter was an overview of your sixteen years as a student, the second one a ride down memory lane starting with elementary school and ending with college, and now this one is about how it all started… the first seed that was planted and how it grew over the years into this steady and strong foundation you begin your next chapter with, your career.

Every parent wants the best for their child/ren. Every parent dreams their kid/s will become incredibly successful, tackle hurdles and reach peaks, do better than they ever did. Have a better life than they ever had.

My dream for you was to finish college. Find a field that would excite you, something to be passionate about, and love getting up every morning for it. Something that would put money in your pocket to live a comfortable life and fulfill whatever dreams you have. Provide you with means to support a family when time comes. For as long as I remember I thought you’d become a … doctor or architect (I know, completely different fields but, that’s how I saw you). Your caring nature, your love of people and the attention to detail in everything you built with lego made me believe that’s where you’ll end up, in the medical field or constructions. How wrong I was!

Sometime in middle school your essay on “Why is putting all your eggs in one basket a bad idea” won an award and there would be some sort of ceremony at school. It was also about the same time you began playing Gaia, the only online game we allowed you to be on (30 minutes a day if you did your chores, remember?). You were making millions and enjoyed buying/selling your goods. Later on, in high school, you took a business class, ending up qualifying for state in D.E.C.A. competition. When time came for you to decide which college to apply for, you wanted W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

So, here we are years later with you about to hear the bell ring for the last time. Next week you’ll have final exams. May 11th is the ceremony for your graduation, closing the student chapter of your life. Starting in June you begin working as area manager at Amazon. To map it all out it looks like this:

I don’t think there are enough words to tell you how proud I am of you. How my heart just melts at the sight of you and bursts open looking at who you became. I always knew you have potential and I never doubted you. I have no regrets about what we did while you were in school. How we pushed you to study and to get better grades. How we checked your homework, and how we kept a vigilant eye over your education, your friends and your behavior. Because the results are shown here and now, with you finding your calling.

I have no idea what the future holds or where life will take you. How many roadblocks will be thrown your way. How many struggles you’ll fight. But what I do know is that I have no worries that you will thrive and you will be just fine. Your tool box is filled with everything Dad and I tried to instill in you, morals and values, every tool you’ll need to succeed.

Have a smooth sailing, Patrick!

With never ending love,

Mom

P.S: A memento from our last lunch at Memorial Union, eating taco salad from Qdoba and talking about everything and anything, as we did for the last four years…

 

 

 

 

Open Letter To My Son–Part 2

26 Apr

Dear Pat,

Remember when I took you across Bucharest, on a beautiful September morning, for your first day of school? The bouquets of flowers, the loud kids and their parents, the gray and white building called Liceul Aurel Vlahuta that was your home for 1st and 2nd grade? Remember the wooden bench and the black board, Frau and the twins who became your best friends?

Remember when we moved to the States and the second day after our arrival, Grandma and Aunt Cathy took us to Manitas Elementary School to enroll you in 3rd grade, barely speaking any English? Remember how brave you were every morning, backpack slanted on your shoulder and off you went? Miss Hebert, who could’ve won Teacher of The Year Award, and Miss Calleros who we both hated for a whole year in 5th grade?

Remember when you started middle school at Pueblo, and how much you struggled with math, but thanks to Mrs. Segerson you actually started to like it? Remember the bullies and how we talked every night about how to handle them? Remember how you had a crush on girls I won’t name here, but how we laughed reading Calvin and Hobbes?

Remember starting high school at Corona del Sol, your first day afraid seniors will play pranks on you as they did with all freshmen? Remember the friends you made and the people you avoided? Remember the cafeteria and the disgusting pizza you ate? Remember your first car and your first kiss and your first heartbreak? Remember Miss Glick and her daring to-read-list?

Remember your first day at Arizona State University, our coffee run that morning before first class in W. P Carey International School of Business? Remember my pestering you to stay on top of your homework, asking endless questions and checking your grades? Remember our lunches?

Remember when I told you it will get better, nothing lasts forever and you will get there? Well, dear Patty Cakes, you are there. You are at the end of your student life and about to start your career.

Make the best out of it and don’t let anyone or anything stop you from success. May this new chapter be what you want it to be, nothing more, nothing less!

Love,

Mom

Open Letter To My Son–Part 1

25 Apr

Dear Patrick,

It’s been a long time coming and now that it is so close, emotions and memories run wild like spiffed toreadors chased by a herd of bulls … tumultuous and raw overwhelming my heart.

Sixteen years of homework, studying, successes and failures, tests and grades, friends and bullies, good teachers and not so good ones, semesters and breaks, all coming to an end. Sixteen years of early mornings, sleepovers and drop offs. Sixteen years of classes, projects and subjects, one by one plating a seed of knowledge and another piece of puzzle in the map of your life. Sixteen years of hopes, anxieties, concerns and perseverance, always pushing forward no matter the obstacle, no matter how hard.

Sixteen years since you entered through the doors of public education for the first time, coming to an end on Thursday when the bell will ring for the last time in your life as a student. A chapter will close and another one will start. A door will close and others will open. Through all of it we loved you, taught you to the best of your abilities and saw you become a strong, healthy and responsible individual. Couldn’t been prouder of your achievements!

Thank you for being the kid you were and for the man you became, Pat! Thank you for allowing us to stand by you through all of it, good and bad, and for never giving up, always chasing after your dreams. The key of your future is in your hands now, enjoy the ride!

Love,

Mom and Dad

The story of… Patty Cakes and Tippy Toes

9 Mar

In my previous post I promised to tell you the story of nicknaming my son Patty Cake and his girlfriend Tippy Toes. 

Over the years Patrick earned several nicknames: as a little kid he was Boaba which in Romanian means Bean or Auriu which means Golden. The nicknames came natural, to some extend caused by his appearances: Boaba because his blue eyes had the form of beans and Auriu because his hair was well, the color of gold. Not very creative, huh?

Some time during middle school and all the way through high school he became just… Pumpkin. He was mortified when he hung out with his friends at our house and out of the blue I’d call, “Pumpkin, lunch is ready!” Talk about all-times-parent-moment-embarrassment. I hope I didn’t scar him, but in my defense I was just being … mom. 

Fall of 2013 marked the beginning of a new era in Patrick’s life: college. And with anything new why not get a new nickname? I remember cooking one evening and he was helping me (which unfortunately it doesn’t happen as often as I wish). Maybe it was because of being hungry, or cooking, I’m not sure, but somehow and out of the blue I called him Patty Cakes. We burst out laughing and since then Patrick is  Patty Cakes. 

January of last year Patty Cakes brought home this super cute/adorable/friendly/loving/funny girl he met at school. He didn’t just bring her home; he snuck her in the house for the first two times, late at night. Between my husband –who can hear a needle drop in my neighbor’s house and my dog–who barks at anything that comes near our house within a two miles radius, Alyssa walked in without anyone knowing. We couldn’t name her anything but Tippy Toes, right?

We never know what the future brings but today Patrick and Alyssa are still an item, so madly in love, so perfect for each other and happier than ever. Time will tell if they’ll earn other nicknames, but for now Patty Cakes and Tippy Toes fit them like a second skin.IMG_2354

New beginning–same emotions

22 Aug

I remember. I remember my son’s first day of school, back home in Romania. On a sunny September morning I took his hand in mine and walked into the school’s yard. Walked among hundred of other students and their parents, all excited for the new beginning.

I remember his palm fitting in mine, holding tight and not ready to let go. I felt his nervousness and all I wanted was to hug him and take it some how from him and replace it with calm and love and reassurance that everything will be okay.

Today, twelve years later I am blessed to see him go off to college, his once again first day of school. A different kind of school—for bigger people—but the emotions pooling in my heart still the same as back then.

Before his first class this morning I met him for an ice tea at the bookstore on campus. Instead of holding hands we hugged (he gives the best hugs ever). Placing his chin atop my head he wrapped his long arms around me and squeezed.

“Hi, Mom,” he said with a smile.

“Hi, kiddo,” I replied. “Ready for your big day?”

“Ready and excited.”

We waited in line at Starbucks and made small talk. A cup of ice tea, and a hug later I saw him walk away from me, my heart so full of love and pride I’m surprised it didn’t explode.  

I said a silent prayer and sent him to conquer the world.

Go get them, Tiger!

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