The Next Chapter

The day was near! One of the first milestone events of Marie’s life’s journey was rapidly approaching. The years of being a camp fire girl, music lessons, soccer games and tournaments, tennis and swim lessons, orchestra rehearsals and concerts, losing teeth, wearing braces and countless other childhood experiences were now memories and pages in scrapbooks and photo albums.

On the day of this celebration, I happily and eagerly completed the final details for Marie’s pre-graduation brunch. I was in my element when entertaining. The food and decorations had to be of perfection to delight not only the honoree but also the guests.

Cap and gown in hand, Marie pulled out of the driveway, parents family and friends following behind. Within a few hours this chapter of Marie’s life would be history before moving forward on her path. As pomp and circumstance played, my eyes filled with tears and I felt certain Marie’s most probably were also.

As with most parents, I recalled my own high school graduation, the hopes and dreams I too had for my future. As much as the tears for Marie, were my tears for the great disappointments of my own life. I had prayed that Marie and Christian would be able to fulfill their life’s ambitions more productively than I had accomplished my own.

Summer passed quickly while Marie continued her position as assistant manager at the local Hallmark store. This had not only been an excellent part-time job for Marie but provided remarkable experience for future jobs in her chosen career of marketing. The high acclaims for Marie’s skills as such a young assistant manager added to our pride of our eldest child and only daughter.

Marie and I spent the summer purchasing charming dorm linens and décor. Though the dorm rooms were small, every collegiate wanted their space to be as comfortable as their rooms at home. The class schedule was finalized. Books were purchased and the big day had arrived; move in day as a Freshman at the University of Oklahoma.

Because Marie was the first grandchild to be attending college, this was an event for some of the extended family. Grandparents, an aunt and cousins all caravaned to Norman from Edmond to assist Marie as she moved the car loads of her treasures into her “first home” away from home.

Upon arrival and settling into her room, Marie realized some of the necessities were missing. With a trip to Target and several hundred dollars later, Marie’s room now held all the luxuries and necessities required for the next 9 months of her life. With hugs and tearful good-byes, we left our precious daughter standing on the threshold of the next chapter of her life.

Doug remained a prominent part of Marie’s life. Even though she was attending a different university than Doug, their friendship remained strong. A fact Marie and I were grateful for, on what was at that time, a most traumatic day for Marie.

I was home when she heard loud and hysterical sobs from Marie. Doug was walking close behind, attempting to console her. I was perplexed. “Sweetheart, what has happened?” Marie could hardly speak, as her sobs became wails. Doug spoke for her. She can’t return to OU. Additionally, she can’t enroll at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Why? What happened? Finally, Marie calmed down enough to say she had failed too many classes. I was stunned. How could that be? It seems Marie had experienced what countless university freshman students experience. Much fun and little study equal failing classes. I sighed, thinking quietly, Marie and hundreds of other students can no longer “squeeze by” as they did in high school.

Marie thought she could enroll at the local university, but when on academic probation from one university, the student must “sit out” for a semester or two before they are permitted to re-enroll. Marie had not discussed her dilemma with us, as she thought she could hide the details of the request to change universities. Now, she had to divulge the truth.

This was not a tragedy; merely a little bump along life’s path. Marie would move home, locate a full-time job and return to her studies when her probation period ended. Whereas, this was a major obstacle to Marie in her young life, years later she realized this was minor compared to other life impediments.

Please continue to follow my journey. My autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from childhood.

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