"Time flies by." A phrase used so frequently that it is almost too cliché. I say that because I believe that today’s generational society is driven to advance more quickly, achieve innumerable expectations and still find a balance of sanity. As a parent, I also say that time has moved swiftly as I have raised children. I’m a very proud parent of three amazing children: a graduating college senior this December, an incoming college freshman and a high school sophomore.
I’m excited to witness my daughter’s completion of her degree this winter, and yet, I have anxieties from my own personal “parent to-do list.” Did I prepare her with enough opportunities for learning from day one of her kindergarten class? Did I teach her all that she could possibly know to become the best she could be in her lifetime? Did I model for her the foundation of goodness and civic morals that a citizen of this country should reflect?
Having worked as an elementary school librarian, I was fortunate to be an active facilitator in elementary education at my children’s school. I witnessed all three learn to read and become avid library fans. So much that all their “fines” from overdue books could equate to a semester’s worth of tuition.
Soon, all three moved on to the next level of academic learning, and I found myself also advancing my own personal education. I now work as a nurse and somehow was able to keep up with today’s technology in the classroom to earn a healthcare license. (It was only during my nursing school that I got myself a smartphone — a hand-me-down from my son.)
My daughter will graduate with a degree in visual communications with a minor in psychology this December. She has traveled to Germany, China, the Philippines and throughout the eastern seaboard during her college career and covered various school events for The Daily Gamecock. She works part-time and continues to maintain a solid GPA.
I remember embracing her good-bye in her Preston dorm room and returning home to Los Angeles, sitting in her empty bedroom, studying for my own nursing exam. I will once again embrace her this December, congratulating her for finishing her studies and earning her bachelor’s degree. She has demonstrated a spirit of learning, a zeal for photographic journalism and remains kind-hearted, respectful and compassionate to those she meets and works with wherever her travels take her.
Have I crossed off items on my “parent to-do list”? I think what I’ve accepted is that I’ve done what I feel is the best most parents can do when it comes to keeping their children safe, affording them the most I could provide in order for learning inside and outside the classroom to occur and modeling what human nature expects in order for civility and equality to preside.
I am proud of my daughter and will continue to have a parent to-do list as long as I live. Parenting never ends. It evolves with each developing stage of childhood all the way into adulthood. I am blessed to be a parent and to know that I’ve had and continue to have the opportunity to be a parent to my three amazingly beautiful, talented and forthright human beings.