In the last year, hubby and I have managed to see two of our young ones graduate from university. While we are far from the first to reach this milestone, and certainly not the last, it has been kind of surreal especially when we consider how far we’ve come. Indeed, it is only at the end of a journey that one can look back and marvel at the experience – from the first day in kindergarten through to primary and then high school.
Then came the ups and downs of getting admission and choosing the right undergraduate courses, trying hard (and failing) to understand the courses they finally settled on (because in our time there were just a handful and easy to remember; there were so many times I would have to ask, “What is the name of your degree again?”). Since this was not primary or high school, the hubby and I did not have the benefit of frequent face to face meetings with teachers and there were no end of term progress reports; we just had to learn to trust that they were attending classes when they said they were and that any reports they brought back were accurate.
With both of them, I have emphasised that while it is they that had to sweat it out during CATs, exams and assignments, their academic success so far is not their own – a host of people have contributed in one way or another; whether it was an aunt or uncle who agreed to do the school run while the hubby and I were away or who dispensed discipline for stepping out of line, or an older cousin who babysat, or a good friend who came through with a loan on those occasions when money was tight.
Maybe it was a grandparent who sat them down and offered gems of wisdom and advice, or a housekeeper who ensured there were clean clothes and fresh food available, or tutors who offered their free time to make sure a particular subject was properly understood... I call this our support system that has been invaluable to us over the years, never to be taken for granted.
When our older girl graduated last weekend, her brother tweeted something to the effect that the hubby and I would now, after many years, find ourselves with extra money that we wouldn’t know what to do with.
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I laughed out loud at that because we all know the nature of money – there is always, always something that needs to be done with it, so that is not a problem we are likely to face any time soon. If it is not school fees, then it is a medical bill, or a broken tap, or a fundraiser... no, I don’t see any ‘extra’ money lying around with nothing to do. But if we did have it, I would maybe attempt to repay that great support network that has walked alongside us and helped us get this far.
One would think now that the older two have already started discovering the world on their own as bona fide adults with national ID cards and good academic certificates to their names, we can stop being overly concerned about them. But I am finding that that is not true.
Last month, our oldest walked into the house in the late afternoon and announced that he had just been robbed – at gunpoint no less. Trying not to imagine all the other ways that nasty incident could have ended took deliberate effort on my part as we thanked the good Lord that although the young man lost some personal items and important documents, the robbers left him unhurt. It also confirmed that our work is far from done, degrees or no degrees.