June 14, 2020
Tonight I prepared my final care package for my daughter during her college years. Preparing these packages has been one of my greatest delights; along with visiting her in her college “home”, and witnessing her growth and achievements.
She graduates this coming week with a B.A. Since the day we moved her into her dorm room Freshman year; my mind had held onto the anticipation of her Graduation day and all the rituals. Graduation is very different this year. On so many levels. The pandemic kicked off the change this year; and now the long overdue movement for systematic change in this country is front and center. These final weeks of college have found my daughter downtown Chicago; doing what her father and I modeled for her… to speak up and take action.
It is usual for humans to have some discomfort as we end one chapter and move to the next. Graduating from college brings up all that discomfort which includes, “What do I do next?” and “Who are my community?” And often brings the discomfort of finding people and places may not fit the same anymore; and a change is on the horizon.
When I was 14 years old and traveling around the country with a Drum and Bugle Corps, I remember feeling so sad at the end of the season. All summer we traveled and I met new friends. At the end of the season, it became clear I may not ever see some of those friend again. A much older (perhaps 18-year-old) young woman shared her sage advice with me back then…
You never know how long a relationship will last. Some will last what seems like a short time. Some rare ones will last throughout life. All are valuable and have purpose. Be grateful for the time and purpose of each relationship. And know there will be endings, that provide opening for more relationships with value and purpose.
I’ve always remembered her advice. And as I started through my decades, it became more clear what she meant. Even more important became the realization that I must love myself and be in relationship with my self first and foremost… then all the other relationships, now matter how short or long, have more meaning and make sense.
So the Mama Bear, this night, prepared a final care package. The contents included:
A card with wishes of congratulations and love
A face mask and packets of alcohol wipes for her airplane trip home
A tiny notebook, to captures dreams and wishes in this transition time
And a poem about Friendship from one of my favorite poets, that includes my advice to my daughter for the ongoing journey.
Friendship Blessing - From Anam Cara: A Book Of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara.
May it be so… and Congratulations to Grace; and all the Class of 2020 graduates for the ongoing journey.